How many times were you told as a child to “stand up straight?” More than likely your parents recognized the importance of good posture and maybe even regretted that theirs wasn’t what it should be. In addition to the superficial advantages of looking up to 10 pounds lighter and leaner when you stand up tall, proper posture balances your body and keeps everything aligned. It also assists in muscle and joint function and helps to prevent back pain.
If your posture hasn’t been the best as a child and/or as an adult, there are things you can do to reverse the negative effects that slouching has taken on your body. You can use a form roller to strengthen your overall core which will hold your spine straighter and taller. The foam roller can also help you stretch any tight muscles in your shoulders and chest that are causing you to hunch forward.
What You Need
- towel or yoga mat
- foam roller – You can buy this at Walmart, Target, Amazon.com and other stores.
- large floor space to lay down
To Get Ready
- Spread your towel or yoga mat out on the floor and place the foam roller on top of it, lengthwise (parallel with your spine).
- Gently lower yourself to sit on the lower edge of the foam roller while bending your knees and your feet flat on the floor.
- Keep your knees bent and slowly lie back and support your spine and head on the foam roller. Relax your shoulders and place your arms on the floor next to your body.
To Strengthen Your Core
- Put your left arm on the floor and raise your right hand over your head. Switch arms and repeat 10 -15 times.
- With both arms at your side, your knees bent, and feet flat on the floor, slowly raise one leg off the ground and lower it. Switch legs and repeat 10 times. Repeat again to complete two to three sets.
To Stretch Your Chest
- Take a deep breath, expand your diaphragm, and then exhale, flattening your abs and pressing your back against the roller.
- Continue to breathe in and out and stretch your chest muscles as you inhale for two to three minutes, twice a day.
To Stretch Your Shoulders
- Hold your arms straight above your head, palms facing each other with fingers reaching towards the ceiling.
- While keeping your shoulder blades relaxed, squeeze the foam roller between them. Slowly relax and squeeze again. Repeat up to 10 times.