Today we’re going to focus on the shoulders and how to stretch and work them to prevent kyphosis (more specifically, hyperkyphosis), also known as Dowager’s Hump.
I’m also eager to share with you a startling just-published study on kyphosis that will give you yet more reasons to want to avoid it.
The Forward Shoulder Corrector flattens the upper back, stretches the chest, and brings your shoulders out of the rounded-forward position characteristic of kyphosis.
Don’t let the simplicity of The Forward Shoulder Corrector fool you – I really felt my shoulders and back muscles working when I did it! And it feels really good to stretch and work this often-neglected part of the body.
Why: Kyphosis is not only unsightly and uncomfortable (even painful). It’s recently come to light that this condition is associated with some really serious health problems.
Scientifically Proven: Kyphosis Is Associated With Increased Fracture Risk And Early Death
Yes, you read that correctly. Kyphosis actually raises your risk for non-spinal fractures and may shorten your life.
A brand-new study, just out this month, shows that kyphosis increases your chance of sustaining a fracture.
“Greater kyphosis is associated with an elevated non-spine fracture risk independent of traditional fracture risk factors in older women. Furthermore, worsening kyphosis is also associated with increased fracture risk…”1
In other words, not only does kyphosis put you at greater risk for fractures; the risk increases if the kyphosis worsens.
Other studies from 1983 to 2009 reveal more ominous findings. They have shown a disturbing (but rarely mentioned) association between kyphosis and early mortality.
The study concludes. (emphasis mine):
“After adjusting for age and other predictors of mortality including osteoporosis related factors such as low bone density, moderate and severe prevalent vertebral fractures, and number of prevalent vertebral fractures, women with greater kyphosis were at increased risk for earlier mortality.”2
But this is not intended to frighten you! This is valuable information that will inspire you to take action and motivate you to stay the course. Because there’s good news: kyphosis can be prevented and even corrected.
And The Forward Shoulder Corrector is a great place to start.
How: This exercise is the ultimate do-anywhere move. You can do this standing or sitting. I have tried it both ways, and I find both to be equally effective. As an aside, though, if you’re sitting down you don’t have to worry about losing your balance.
- Hold your arms out to make two 90-degree angles: one with your shoulders and the other with your elbows.
- Slowly squeeze your shoulder blades toward each other.
- Hold for 5 to 10 seconds (feel free to work up to this, of course).
- Relax the shoulder blades (keep your arms at the same angles).
- Repeat 3 to 5 times for one set; do 2 to 3 sets per day.
- Focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together, not moving your elbows back.
- Resist the temptation to poke your head forward as you do this. Forward head posture, or FHP, contributes to kyphosis. (The Forward Shoulder Corrector also corrects FHP if done correctly.)
- Make sure your back does not arch forward.
Combining Exercises Makes Them More Effective
Just as the body’s systems do not work in isolation, no one exercise will cover every aspect of a condition or muscle group you want to target. An excellent exercise to combine with The Forward Shoulder Corrector is a challenge from a previous weekend: The Posture Enhancer.
Get The Most Effective Posture Exercises!
Learn the 52 exercise moves that improve posture and jumpstart bone-building – all backed by the latest in epigenetics research.
Enjoy your weekend!
1 Kado, Deborah M., MD, MS, et al. Hyperkyphosis, Kyphosis Progression, and Risk of Non-Spine Fractures in Older Community Dwelling Women: The Study of Osteoporotic Fractures (SOF).” Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. October 2014. 29(10): 2210-2216. Web. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4177348/
2 Kado, Deborah M., MD, MS, et al. “Hyperkyphosis predicts mortality independent of vertebral osteoporosis in older women.” May 19, 2009. 150(10): 681-687. Web. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2711520/