by Dr. Amy Mercovich, Chiropractor
Adding daily, reasonable posture habits may seem like a chore because most people are probably doing nothing right now. However, the three things I recommend are simple and can be linked to something you already do everyday such as brushing your teeth or making the morning coffee.
Be Smart with Your Smart Phone
First, a great change that everyone who has a smartphone can do…. Simply hold it up in front of your face instead of holding it at your waist and staring down at it.
The easiest way to do this is to wedge your elbow into your ribs. See the photos – it’s very easy and will allow the nerve messages from your brain to get to the rest of the body without being impeded with that horrible head posture of constantly looking down.
Now, there are just two exercises, one is actually only a stretch, that you could do on a daily basis to be able to pat yourself on the back with pride that you are taking “reasonable” steps to have healthy posture.
One Stretch and One Strengthener
Ready to learn what Dr. Amy believes to be the two most important exercises for optimal posture? Here they are…
Dr. Amy’s Famous “Stretch Break”
Sit or stand with your arms clasped behind your back. Lift your arms away from you (to where the wall meets the floor). Tilt your head back as far as you can. Take a deep breath in and, on your exhale, reach your chin back further. Note: if balance or dizziness is an issue for you, only do this stretch break while sitting. Time commitment: 5 seconds
Upper Back and External Rotator Cuff Exercise
Step 1 Spin your thumbs backwards (like “Fonzie”) as hard as you can
Step 2 Squeeze your shoulder blades together as hard as you can
Hold both contractions 1-2 full seconds and release. Repeat at least 20 times.
Do these two exercises daily. Teach them to your children, co-workers, and people you meet on the street (ok, maybe not them unless you are an extrovert… in that case, do it, video record it, and make it go viral).
If health and longevity are goals of yours, then good posture is essential. Actually, good posture is also necessary if you have “looking good” on your list of things that make you happy. Have you seen someone all hunched over lately? It’s not a pretty site and quite depressing, too.
Computers and desk sitting are common contributors to poor posture. Here are a few tips on improving posture while at your desk or on a computer:
- Never use your laptop on your lap – put the laptop on a portable laptop desk (look on Amazon, $35-40 will get a fine one)
- Elevate your monitor way higher than even any “ergonomics” article has ever told you to do. Make yourself “reach” your head and eyes to see the monitor.
- Sit your bum far back in your chair, sit up straight with your spine touching the back of the chair, then scoot your chair in as close as you can to the desk. Continue to use the back of your chair – don’t lean forward.
- Stand up every 15 minutes – I dare you! Put a low volume chime on your smart phone (there’s got to be an app for that) and simply stand up then immediately sit back down one time every 15 minutes.
- Consider a stand-up work station or even a treadmill work station that moves at 1-2 miles per hour.
Stay tuned for the next blog post of reasonable lifestyle habits for health, happiness, and longevity… coming soon.