3 Exercises For Your Posture to do Any Time, Anywhere
I often hear clients report that they just don’t have time to go to the gym, work out, or do corrective exercises. And I get it, it does take a lot of time and effort to do those things. So today let’s take a look at three exercises which will help improve your posture and release aches and pains that you can do any time, anywhere.
1. Shoulder Dips
What this is good for: shoulder pain, neck pain, elevated shoulders, stress, head position imbalances.
Interlace the fingers behind the back with the elbows gently bent. Move the elbows towards each other and hold for one second before releasing. Squeeze from the area in between and just below the shoulder blades (the purple area in the image below). Repeat 15 times. You can do this exercise several times a day, but it’s especially good to do first thing in the morning and again whenever you feel sore or tired in your shoulders.
How this works: This exercise works to activate the fibers of the lower trapezius - the largest of the shoulder muscles. Often times the upper fibers (the ones in orange) are overly active and cause pain in the shoulders and neck. This exercise corrects the imbalanced activation between the upper and lower fibers.
2. Diagonal Stretch
What this is good for: tight hip flexors, tight or painful low back, improving balance, hip and spine imbalances.
This exercise is a combination of a balancing position and a stretch that comes from a wonderful movement educator named Ido Portal. I’ve take this directly from his Facebook page, so check out his Facebook page and website if you want more directly from the source:
To perform the Diagonal Stretch follow these 5 steps:
A. Stand with your heels together but toes out with 90 degree angle (45 off the center line on each side) between your feet.
B. Align your right foot toes behind your left heel and glide backwards on an imaginary line drawing out of your left heel. You will achieve a lunge position with the front foot in External Rotation (45 degree off center line) and back foot with raised heel and on the toes, not rotated any more - but straight forward on the center line. (examine the feet orientation in the photo)
C. Put your right hand on your heart and let the elbow relax on the body.
D. Take the left hand and reach behind you towards your desired target - back of the right knee, mid calf or heel. Arch back and rotate but don't bend down to reach for your target.
E. Hold for 30-60 sec. Yes, you heard me right. Yes, I know its a humbling experience.
If you get an early case of Parkinson's disease, don't despair. Keep working it and perform 3-5 sets alternating legs.
Now you learn how the kind of stretching that I use feel. Its far from how relaxed stretching feels, but the benefits are in direct correlation to the hard work.
Make the Diagonal Stretch an integral part of your stretching and enjoy increased mobility in your back bridges, hip flexors, walkovers, running gate biomechanics and more.
How this works: This works to address mobility in the hips, hip flexors, and spine, while working to improve balance and whole-body coordination.
3. Ankle Circles
What this is good for: ankle and foot strength, balance, plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, tight calves, lower leg imbalances.
Ankle circles! These are some of the simplest and best movements to do with the lower leg and foot. It’s best to do them lying down on your back, but they can also be done in any position, whether at your desk, a chair, on the couch, or anywhere else.
With one foot, begin to make large circles in a clockwise fashion. Make sure to find your full range of motion. If there are any areas that feel stuck, sore, or hard to move through, don’t avoid those areas - just slow down and work through them on whatever level you’re comfortable with. Repeat 15 times, then switch directions. After doing both directions, point and flex the foot 15 times.
Just like the shoulder dips, you can repeat this multiple times per day, but it’s most potent if you do this first thing in the morning or before other exercise.
How this works: This exercise works by activating all of the various muscles of the lower leg. The first few times you’ll do this, you’ll probably feel a deep burning in the muscles you’re not used to using - the ones along the front of the shin and the ones along the sides of the calves. Don’t worry about this, it’ll get easier the more you do it.
As always, these are meant as general guidelines and should not substitute full medical care. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me!