Prolonged sitting can wreak havoc on your posture, whether you’re sitting at a desk, in front of a screen, knitting, or any number of forward-leaning activities.
Unfortunately, a quick shrug or stretch every once in a while isn’t enough to offset the damage caused by sitting down for extended periods of time. To maintain good posture, you need to strengthen the muscles that hold your shoulders and spine in the right position.
And that’s what today’s challenge is designed to do. It’s called the Workday Posture Straightener because you can easily do it during the day anywhere you happen to be, as many times a day as you like, to counteract the effects of your desk job (or whatever forward-leaning activity you might engage in).
Many daily activities involve sitting for long periods, and more often than not, we tend to lean forward without even realizing, which can make the shoulders and upper back feel stiff and even achy during the day. We try to “undo” the postural damage by stretching a moment before returning to our activity. But proper posture that promotes spinal alignment and vertebral density requires more than that.
When shoulders are rounded from leaning forward for long periods, crucial postural muscles can weaken and stretch, making it harder to correct posture. For that reason, exercises that strengthen these muscles are essential.
If you’re new to this site or are not familiar with the Osteoporosis Reversal Program yet, you may be wondering why I’m discussing posture. While not present in all osteoporosis diagnoses, the dreaded Dowager’s Hump, or kyphosis, is associated with low bone density.
Proper posture helps strengthen and align the bones of the upper back and shoulders, building bone strength as well as promoting correct positioning.
Why Posture Matters
There are other compelling reasons why posture matters. For example, chronically poor posture can result in painful nerve inflammation such as sciatica and carpal tunnel syndrome. Headaches, neck pain, and back pain can also result from poor posture, which puts strain on muscles, ligaments, and joints.
Also, posture matters with regard to balance. Poor posture throws your body off balance, increasing your susceptibility to falls that could result in a broken bone. But correct posture aligns your skeleton, and postural exercises strengthen muscles that will help you stay upright.
How Posture Affects The Vertebrae
While posture influences your entire skeleton, the vertebrae deserve special mention with regard to this topic. Specifically, the vertebrae in the neck suffer significantly when posture is poor, and here’s why.
Many activities, such as texting, driving, typing, and even knitting involve leaning forward and down. Known as forward head posture (FHP), this postural habit puts tremendous pressure on the discs between the cervical vertebrae. Correct posture puts about 12 pounds of pressure on the discs (that’s a little more than the weight of the average human head). FHP increases the pressure three times, resulting in 36 pounds of pressure on the discs. This sets the stage for disc degeneration, bulging discs, and inflammation.
FHP causes the muscles at the base of the neck to strain and compress, which can give rise to headaches that radiate up the back of the head and into the forehead and eye area. The muscles may spasm, becoming hard and knot-like, and can be tender to pressure.
So as you can see, correcting and maintaining good posture is a very important weapon in your fight against low bone density.
No equipment is necessary to perform this exercise; you don’t even need much space! Feel free to do this exercise multiple times throughout the day.
- Stand straight and tall with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Don’t force your posture forward by throwing out your chest – think “up” rather than “out.”
- Hold your arms straight down at your sides with your palms facing back.
- Keeping your elbows straight, push your arms back as far as you can.
- Bring your arms back to the starting position and repeat about 10 times, rest, and do another set of 10 (always working within your comfort level of course).
- Don’t lean forward as you reach your arms back; your torso should remain as still as possible.
- Move deliberately, using the muscles in your upper back and arms. Don’t just swing your arms back and forth.
Improving Your Posture Doesn’t Have To Be Time-Consuming
One of the great things about this exercise is that it doesn’t take a lot of time or even floor space. You don’t need hours of workout time to tone and strengthen postural muscles; you can do a very effective workout in minutes.
Take Exercising For Your Bones to the Next Level!
Learn the 52 exercise moves that jumpstart bone-building – all backed by the latest in epigenetics research.
Densercise™, designed to build and rejuvenate your bones, also contains many postural exercises, and only takes 15 minutes a day, three times a week. Like today’s challenge, it’s easy to weave the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System into your daily routine. It doesn’t require special equipment or expensive specialty items, and the convenient digital format means you can get started right away.
Enjoy the weekend, and if you live in the U.S.A., have a great Independence Day holiday!