Posture is something we often neglect, but is actually incredibly important for keeping our bodies balanced. In addition, there is a multitude of benefits to good posture such as ensuring your muscles are being used effectively, decreasing tears on joints, and minimizing the risk of injury. When we are chronically in certain positions, our muscles will shorten. For instance, currently most people are spending their days hunched in front of a computer. Fortunately there are plenty of effective stretches to help keep your body going and help you make strength gains.
1. Standing Forward Bend
Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width. Interlace your fingers, face your palms down, and straighten your arms. Exhale and lean forward, bringing your hips and head towards the floor. Keep your back as straight as possible and don’t go farther than your body allows.
2. Seated Side Bend
In a seated position, rest one hand on the floor. Keeping your back as straight as possible, bring your other hand over and above your head in a curve, pointing your fingers down.
3. Spine Stretch
Sit with your legs straight in front of you and your toes pointed up. Keeping your back straight, reach your arms out in front of you as far as they will go. Rather than reaching for your toes, reach mainly in front of yourself.
4. Hip Flexor Stretch
Begin in a half-kneel position and tilt your pelvis backwards. Keep your back flat and your upper body upright as you stretch your front hip.
5. Child’s Pose
Start on your shins with your knees touching and big toes together. Fold your upper body forward from your hips and slowly extend your arms Sink your hips downward- if your thighs do not go down to the floor, use a pillow or blanket under your legs. Place your forehead on the floor as you keep your arms extended.
6. High Plank
Beginning on all fours, straighten your legs and lift your heels and hips off the ground. Keep your back straightened and try to keep your abdominal, arm, and leg muscles engaged. Lengthen your neck and keep your gaze downward.
7. Downward Dog
Start on all fours. Tuck your toes in and lift your hips and pelvis high toward the ceiling. Dig your heels into the ground, drop your head, and lengthen your neck.
8. Pigeon Pose
Starting on all fours, bring your knees below your hips and your hands slightly in front of your shoulders. Bend one knee and place it behind the aligning wrist with your foot splayed out in the other direction. Bring your other leg back and rest the thigh on the ground. Lower your body to rest on your inner thigh and extend your arms forward. Or, Sit up and keep your back tall and straight.
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