In today’s world of technology, we spend more time sitting and use terms like “text neck” and “computer body” to describe pain and tension related to cell phone, tablet and computer use. To help get rid of these aches and pains, remember what you were told as kids, “Sit up straight!” and strengthen your posture with stretches.
Stretch Your Muscles
Chest: Bring your arms into a ‘goal post’ position with your elbows directly out from your shoulders and wrists over your elbows. To deepen, pull your shoulder blades together to bring your elbows back. You can also do this against a door frame.
Hip Flexors: The hip flexors, or iliopsoas muscles, lie deep in front of the hip connecting the leg, pelvis, and abdomen. Sitting can make these powerful muscles tight and weak leading to low back pain. Try a kneeling hip flexor stretch by taking your right knee down and placing the left foot forward with your knee directly over the ankle and bent to 90 degrees. With your hands on hips, gently move your hips forward to feel a stretch in the front of the right leg. Switch sides and repeat.
Neck: Stretch your neck by taking your right ear toward your right shoulder. If you want to deepen the stretch, place your right hand above your left ear and gently press into the stretch. Switch sides and repeat.
Strengthen Your Core
Plank: Plank is one of the best exercises to work the core (abdomen and back muscles). Place your forearms on the floor with your elbows directly under your shoulders. Tuck the toes under so that you are only on your forearms and toes. You want to look like a plank – get your hips down. This can be made easier by placing your knees down or make it more challenging by lifting a leg at a time or placing your forearms on a unstable surface like a BOSU ball or Wobble Board.
Superman or woman: This exercise focuses on strengthening the back muscles, which are essential to a better posture. Lie face-down (prone) on the floor. Extend both arms out in front of you about shoulder-width apart palms facing the floor. You can also make this slightly easier by extending the arms straight out from the shoulders. Next, lift your arms and legs off the floor. Think about getting long as you lift. Too much? Try lifting your right arm and left leg, and vice versa. Repeat at least 10 times.
Next time you start to feel those technology-induced aches and pains, stretch and strengthen your body for a better posture.