Sitting at a desk, driving, texting, checking email and social media scrolling are all activities that contribute to postural kyphosis, or hunched back.
When we sit our shoulders naturally round and our head inches forward. This causes weak muscles between your shoulder blades, and tight muscles at the front of your chest. If this posture remains uncorrected for months, years or even decades we start to see evidence of structural damage in the spine as it needs to adapt to it’s never-ending forward head and rounded shoulder posture.
In an ideal world we would simply sit less and more more naturally throughout the day. But the reality is that we have jobs to do, places to drive to, emails to check and kids to take care of. Of course, there are ways to move more (even with a desk job), but another small step in the right direction is to incorporate simple corrective exercises that help combat postural kyphosis.
My favourite? Wall angels!
Start by standing in front of an open wall. Your elbows need to be bent 90 degrees, with your arms parallel to the ground.
Ensure that the back of your head, spine and hips are touching the wall. Ideally your heels are too, but for most, their mobility will limit them from getting into the position. If you find your shoulders start to round with your heels against the wall, try moving your feet forward a few inches and even bend your knees.
Now start straightening your arms directly overhead, keeping the backs of your hands and forearms in contact with the wall. Then bring them back to the start position. That’s 1 repetition.
Repeat 10 repetitions, for 3 rounds. You can do all 30 reps at the same time of the day (remember to pause between every set), or space them out before work, over your lunch hour and when you get home.
The reps should be slow and controlled. Your mobility should never be rushed.
This is a very simple exercise, but it does really test those postural muscles that have gotten weak and used to their ever-so-comfy rounded shoulder position. You will likely feel the muscles between your shoulder blades fatigue easily (maybe even twitch or cramp) after only a few repetitions.
If this is difficult to do…well, even more reason to build on this weakness. Your spine, your posture, and most importantly your health will thank you.
If you have any questions, leave them below in the comments section.
Make it a great week,