Weekend Challenge: The Posture Adjuster
This weekend’s exercise is the Posture Adjuster. It concentrates on the area between the shoulder blades and the cervical vertebrae, aligning the upper back and neck to improve posture. As soon as you’ll try it you’ll notice that it feels great.
Correcting and avoiding poor posture is essential. Not only does it increase your risk of falling; a shocking study reveals a connection between poor posture and future disability.
Let’s get started!
As Savers know, Forward Head Posture, or FHP, is a growing problem. Because it’s a precursor to kyphosis, FHP is of particular concern. In addition, FHP throws your body out of balance, setting the stage for falls that can result in painful fractures.
In fact, poor posture in general compromises your balance by skewing your center of gravity and making it harder for you to stay upright. In addition, it can greatly affect your future quality of life, as you’ll see later.
For those with significant FHP or kyphosis, it’s also harder to see where you are going and what’s at your feet, because your range of vision is restricted due to the downward, thrust-forward position of your head. This sets the stage for tripping and stumbling.
The Posture Adjuster places the head in the correct position and flattens the upper back. Even if you have FHP or kyphosis, this exercise can help reverse the “hump” and restore cervical alignment.
What Causes FHP?
A number of factors go into the development of chronic FHP. Repetitive movements such as texting, carrying a heavy backpack every day, computer use (gaming, typing, etc.), and even poor sleeping positions can contribute to the condition.
If your occupation leads you to lean forward and down frequently (think hairdresser, painter, computer programmers, etc.), then you’re at greater risk of developing FHP.
Weak neck muscles can also contribute to FHP, and The Posture Adjuster, especially when combined with other exercises that strengthen the neck muscles, can help tone and strengthen these important muscles so they can hold your head up without strain.
Symptoms Of FHP Go Beyond Head And Neck Pain And Poor Posture
Did you know that FHP carries with it a host of unpleasant symptoms? Fatigue, insomnia, sleep apnea, height loss, decreased appetite, and even neurological symptoms (such as numbness and tingling in the hands and arms and facial pain) can all be signs of FHP.
Also, muscle imbalance is a significant problem associated with this condition. To compensate for the awkward head position, other muscles must step in, causing tightness and pain. The muscles of the shoulders, neck, and chest try to keep your head up and your body from toppling over. Some of the compensatory muscles include:
- Pectorals (both major and minor)
- Latissimus dorsi (the “lats”)
- Sternocleidomastoid (runs along the side of your neck from the base of your skull just behind the ear to the clavicle)
- Levator scapulae (originates in the lower 4 cervical vertebrae and attaches to the medial border of the scapula)
- Upper trapezius (the upper part of the larger trapezius muscle that lies across your shoulders and upper back)
- Arm flexor muscles
While the above muscles and muscle groups become fatigued and strained, other muscles grow weak. They include:
- Lower trapezius
- Rhomboids (connect the top inside edge of the scapulae to the last vertebrae of the neck)
- Cervical flexors (muscles in the front of the neck)
- Posterior rotator cuff
- Arm extensor muscles
As you can see, FHP has much larger implications than simply an unsightly posture issue.
To do this exercise, you’ll need to stand up against a wall. In fact, this is a good test to check your posture. You’ll see what I mean in a moment.
Source: rekrain on YouTube
- Stand with your back against the wall. With your chin tucked in, touch your upper back and the back of your head to the wall. If you can’t do this without lifting your chin, put a pillow between your head and the wall.
- Your buttocks and heels should also be against the wall.
- Hold your arms out at a downward 45-degree angle, palms down.
- Raise your arms up above your shoulders – again, about 45 degrees or slightly higher.
- Lower your arms back down to the starting position and repeat.
- Continue raising and lowering your arms evenly 10 times, or as many times as you feel comfortable.
- Rest, and repeat at least three times.
Follow Up With Another Weekend Challenge
The Posture Adjuster goes well with The Dowager’s Hump Corrector And Preventer. The latter is also performed while standing up against a wall, so one exercise naturally leads to the other.
Scientifically Proven: Poor Posture Is Indicative Of Future Disability
A Japanese study involving 804 participants reveals a startling truth: people with the worst posture were the most likely to end up needing assistance or living in a nursing home.1
Researchers evaluated the spinal curvature of the study subjects to determine if posture was linked to an increased risk of becoming dependent as they aged. All participants were 65 years or older, and at the beginning of the study, all were able to perform daily tasks unassisted. After four-and-a-half years, those with the most pronounced forward lean were 3.5 times more likely to need assistance with daily tasks.1
Now Is The Time To Correct Your Posture!
It’s never too late to improve your health and posture. Regular posture-enhancing exercises go hand-in-hand with the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, which is why you’ll find many upper-body exercises in the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System (of course, lower-body exercises are also included in this comprehensive program).
I hope you enjoy this weekend’s challenge as much as I did! And please share your comments with the community below.
Have a great weekend!
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1 Kamitani, Kojiro, et al. “Spinal Posture in the Sagittal Plan Is Associated With Future Dependence in Activities of Daily Living: A Community-Based Cohort Study of Older Adults in Japan.” The Journals of Gerontology. January 2013. doi: 10.1093/gerona/gls253. Web. http://biomedgerontology.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/01/24/gerona.gls253.abstract