For many Savers, preventing or reversing kyphosis (Dowager’s Hump) is a significant concern. So today I share with you the Posture Enhancer, an exercise that can both prevent and correct this unsightly, uncomfortable condition that’s often associated with osteoporosis.
With a very simple set of movements, the Posture Enhancer targets the precise area to straighten your upper back and neck. It also strengthens your arms, which can be a great help if you need to catch yourself in the event of fall.
Why: Good posture and healthy bones go hand in hand. Healthy bones are strong so the spine remains in good alignment; and good posture helps align and strengthen your bones. The Posture Enhancer taps into this relationship, promoting bone strength and spinal alignment.
Today’s lifestyle involves a lot of bending forward – desk work, tapping on cell phones, looking at the screens on our electronic devices, etc. All of these activities require a forward head posture. This sets the stage for kyphosis, but the Posture Enhancer counteracts this by using gravity and specific movements to straighten your upper back and neck.
By working the muscles of the upper back and shoulders, the Posture Enhancer strengthens your vertebrae via the action of gravity and muscles on the bones. And because you perform the Posture Enhancer while lying on your back, your spine stays in a straight position throughout the exercise.
This weekend’s exercise also expands your chest by gently pushing your shoulders back, promoting deep breathing and reversing the “hump” that occurs from rounding your shoulders forward.
So let’s get to it!
How: You’ll need an exercise mat or a carpeted area. You’ll also need a chair, bench, box, or something similar – just so long as it’s about 18 inches high and sturdy.
- Place your lower legs on the chair (or whatever you’re using).
- Lie on your back on the exercise mat, keeping your legs at a 90-degree angle.
- Place your arms on the floor at a 45-degree angle, palms up. Relax for a few minutes, so your spine and your hips get aligned.
- Raise your arms above your chest and interlace your fingers.
- Bring your arms back over your head, ideally touching the floor above your head (if you can’t, just go as far back as you can).
- Bring your arms back up above your chest.
- Repeat 30 times or as many times as you comfortably can.
- Return to the starting position (arms at a 45-degree angle) for a few minutes after the exercise. This relaxes your muscles and lets the vertebrae “settle” into place.
- Keep your arms as straight as you can throughout the exercise.
- Do not arch your lower back.
- Keep your fingers interlaced throughout the exercise.
- Remember to breathe in and out with your diaphragm.
It’s really amazing how simple exercises like this one are so effective because they incorporate movements we don’t normally make in our daily lives.
Yet such moves are essential for overcoming the postural damage our modern lifestyles inflict on our spines every day.
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Have a great weekend!