Fix up your posture with this five-minute routine you can do right before (or after) a long day of sitting.
When that sudden neck and back pain hits, it is essential to stop and take a few minutes to straighten your posture back out.
Our shoulders start to round forward when we sit for a long period of time. Especially if you are typing on a computer or phone, which requires your shoulders to be in a forward position.
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This poor posture also causes the chin to move forward, bringing your cervical spine out of alignment. After a few hours of this hunching forward, your neck and upper back will likely be in pain from trying to correct the posture on their own.
This 5-minute routine helps reverse the painful effects of poor posture. Do this routine daily, especially on the days where you’ll be sitting for prolonged periods of time. Set your timer and let’s go!
Twisting Cobras | 30 sec
This dynamic stretch increases blood flow to the shoulders, bringing them back into their proper position.
- Lie face down on the floor with your legs straight back behind you and your arms long and to the sides, so that they are in line with your shoulders. Tent your fingers on the floor and point your elbows up towards the sky. Engage your abs.
- Press lightly into your fingertips and inhale to lift your chest, feeling a stretch in your belly and chest.
- Then, exhale to twist and lower your right shoulder and cheek to the ground. You should feel a stretch through the front of your right shoulder.
- Inhale to press back up to the center and lift your chest. Then, exhale and twist the other direction, lowering your left shoulder and cheek towards the mat.
- Continue alternating side-to-side for 30 seconds.
Shoulder Pigeon | 20 sec per side
This stretch straightens out your posture by releasing tightness in the front of the shoulders and chest.
- Start by lying on your belly with your legs straight back behind you, palms under your shoulders.
- Straighten your right arm to the right and turn the palm face down. Your hand should be in line with the shoulder.
- Bend your left knee and press into your left palm to roll onto your right shoulder. Place your left foot on the floor outside of your right thigh. Relax your right cheek on the floor.
- Close your eyes and breathe deeply here for 30 seconds. Switch sides.
Puppy Stretch | 1 min
Sitting also creates tightness in the lats. This stretch reverses tightness in the lats, shoulders, and chest.
- Begin in a tabletop position on your hands and knees.
- Keep your hips stacked over your knees and walk your hands towards the top of the mat. Lower your forehead down to the floor.
- Bring your palms together and bend your elbows to bring your thumbs behind the nape of your neck. Then wriggle your elbows forward another inch or two.
- Melt your chest down towards the floor and hold for one minute, breathing deeply the entire time.
Bound Forward Fold | 20 sec
This stretch improves shoulder mobility and relieves tension in the upper back, neck, and shoulders.
- Stand up with your feet slightly wider than hip-width distance with your toes pointing out at 45-degree angles.
- Interlace your fingers behind your lower back. Keep a little bend in the elbows so that they aren’t locked out.
- Take an inhale to feel a stretch across your chest, then exhale as you bend your knees and fold forward. Allow your interlaced hands to lift away from your lower back.
- Shift the weight slightly towards your toes and let your head hand heavy. Hold for 30 seconds, then release by standing back up slowly with a flat back.
Eagle Arms | 20 sec per side
Release tightness in the rear delts and upper back with this stretch.
- Kneel or sit in a crossed-legged position. Reach your arms out wide into a T-shape.
- Exhale and cross your right arm underneath your left. Then, bend the elbows and wrap your forearms to bring your palms to touch. If your shoulders are too tight for this, simply bring your hands to opposite shoulders.
- Lift your elbows up in line with your shoulders and press them forward.
- Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
Handcuff with Neck Stretch | 1 min
Free your neck, traps, and shoulders from the prison of pain with this stretch!
- Kneel or find a comfortable seat
- Reach your forearms behind your lower back, grasping for opposite elbows. Engage your abs and lift your chest.
- Slowly lower your right ear towards your right shoulder. Hold for a moment, then roll your chin down towards your chest and up to your left shoulder.
- Roll your neck side-to-side for 1-minute, stopping to hold for a few seconds whenever you find a tight spot.
Still feeling a bit tight in your back? Get a core workout and pain reliever with these 9 lower ab exercises, or bring your posture up to the next level with this dumbbell routine.