To help correct your standing posture, imagine a string attached to the top of your head pulling you upwards.
To improve this posture, try to get into the habit of standing with your weight evenly distributed on both legs.
You want to use a high density foam roller for this. For the smaller muscles and harder to reach areas, a tennis or lacrosse ball works well. We've already reviewed the best foam rollers if you are looking for more options.
Take your chest muscles as an example. They connect via a tendon (their piece of rope) to the front of your shoulders. You then have back muscles that connect to the back of the shoulder, forming the opposing team. When your chest muscles are tight, they out-pull the back; your shoulder rolls forward and you’re stuck hunching over.
Try to get into the habit of holding the phone with your hand, or use a hands-free device.
A minute more than you usually do is the bare minimum. If you don’t walk regularly at all then start with just a minute or two, and build consistently from there. Do more if you can: 20 minutes daily will get you good results and anything beyond that is also recommended.
Walking is the most underrated and arguably the most important activity you can do. Walking will help your posture, increase your lifespan, reduce your bodyfat, improve your mood and more! We’re mostly interested in the posture part for this article but I love doing easy things that give me a lot back.
Upper back, neck and rear shoulder strengthening exercises, chest stretches and neck posture drills are recommended to help correct a hunched back.
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“Bad posture is a habit,” says physiotherapist and osteopath Tim Allardyce of Surrey Physio (surreyphysio.co.uk). “To address it you need the right computer set up, the right exercise and the right mindset. If you don’t have good core strength, for example, then sitting up straight will make you achy, encouraging you to slouch. Equally, if you don’t maintain flexibility in your spine, then it can become stiff and contribute to back pain.”
“Lying lengthways on this foam roller - so that it runs down the middle of your back supporting your head and sacrum - will extend your spine backwards, which is great for helping prevent a rounded back,” says Allardyce. “Use for two or three minutes every day, especially after a long day of sitting. You can also roll on it to release tense muscles.”Buy now
"But with a bit of practise, good posture will become second nature and be one step to helping your back in the long term."
Good posture will do more to keep you looking youthful as the years go by than a face-lift or Botox. And the benefits of maintaining your bone health are much more than skin-deep. Although a stooped posture may seem to go hand in hand with old age, you can help prevent the characteristic rounding of the spine that is often caused by osteoporosis and the destruction of the vertebrae in the upper and middle spine. Here are 10 tips to keep you standing tall at any age.
Fortunately there are plenty of tools on the market to help. So we’ve teamed up with Allardyce - who has worked with some of Britain's top athletes and Olympians - to find the best equipment to ‘back’ you up.
Assess your posture Wear something form-fitting and take two full-body photos—one from the front, one from the side. Relax your muscles and stand as tall as you can, feet hip-width apart. Then refer to the fix-it plan (below left) to diagnose your posture problems.
The foam roller is a simple, affordable and effective option. Team it with the resistance band or gym ball for a posture-improving workout.
Exercise to improve hunchback posture forward head carriage correction | YouTube via MakeUseOf
“We tend to look down at smartphones, laying them on our desk or holding them in our lap,” says Allardyce. “This can lead to achy shoulders and neck pain. This inexpensive, flexible stand is a simple way to address the problem by raising your device up.” It’s compatible with most phones and will clip to a desk or bedside table.
4 ELEVATED SHOULDER The problem The muscle under your chest (running from your ribs to your shoulder blades) is weak. The fix Sit upright in a chair with your hands next to your hips, palms down on the seat, arms straight. Without moving your arms, push down on the chair until your hips lift up off the seat and your torso rises. Hold for five seconds. That's one repetition; do two or three sets of 12 reps daily.
Now that we’ve gotten rid of a lot of the knots and loosened up the muscles, we want to start startching and lengthening them. As with the rolling, start slowly and build it up. You don’t want to rush here and hurt yourself. You should feel a stretch in the muscle or at the edge of it. You should NOT feel it in the joint. Stop if you feel sharp pain.
Luckily, you only need to make a few, simple adjustments to improve your posture and be happier and more succesful. Using these simple steps, you will see continous improvement over time and within as little as 3 weeks, you can totally transform how you look.
The neck and shoulders are not designed to hold this position for any length of time.
6 DUCK FEET The problem Your oblique muscles and hip flexors are weak. The fix Get into a pushup position with your feet resting on a stability ball. Without rounding your lower back, tuck your knees under your torso, using your feet to roll the ball toward your body, then back to the starting position. That's one rep. Do two or three sets of six to 12 reps daily.
Hunching over your keyboard is usually a sign that you have a tight chest and a weak upper back.
2 ROUNDED SHOULDERS The problem Weakness in the middle and lower parts of your trapezius (the large muscle that spans your shoulders and back) The fix Lie facedown on the floor, with each arm at a 90-degree angle in the high-five position. Without changing your elbow angle, raise both arms by pulling your shoulders back and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Hold for five seconds. That's one rep; do two or three sets of 12 reps daily.
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“Wake up with a stiff neck in the morning? Try changing your pillow,” says Allardyce. “This one moulds to the shape of your neck and has a raised section at the front, providing support for the natural arch of the neck. If you find it hard, try placing a thin feather pillow over the top.” Comes with a three-year guarantee and in a range of sizes.Buy now
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Exercises to correct a "Donald Duck" posture:
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If you want to hit two birds with one stone and have really awesome posture, check out our guide on Making your butt and gut smaller by fixing your hips.
How to improve posture
Vitamin D is essential for bone health, and may help us maintain our muscles too. Try to get it from a healthy diet. A recent report from the Institute of Medicine, an independent, nonprofit organization, found that most of us get enough vitamin D from food and sunlight without taking supplements. The recommended dietary intake for vitamin D is 600 IU a day for women up to age 70 and 800 IU for women older than 70.
The vertebral compression fractures that subtract from our heightand can lead to the "dowager's hump" in the upper back that's a hallmark of old ageare due to the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis. Womenand mencan prevent these changes with weight-bearing exercises, like walking, stair climbing, and weight lifting. "People who walk regularly through their whole lives tend to have better bone density than sedentary people," Seguin explains.
Exercises to strengthen your core and buttock muscles, and back extensions, will help correct a slouching posture.
A flat back also tends to make you lean your neck and head forwards, which can cause neck and upper back strain.
Over time, this type of posture can contribute to you developing a rounded upper back, which can cause shoulder and upper back stiffness.
Physiotherapist Nick Sinfield describes eight common posture mistakes, and how to correct them with strength and stretching exercises.
In addition to helping to increase body awareness and core strength, yoga is an excellent way to build and maintain flexibility and strengthen muscles throughout your body, Dr. Bean says. Start practicing yoga gradually and listen to how your body responds, he points out. Make sure your yoga teacher is sensitive to your needs and abilities, and available for feedback. Hatha or restorative yoga are good places to start if you're a beginner.
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