If you are someone who sits all day, be it at your office, driving a car, or general inactivity throughout the day, it is highly likely that you have developed some posture disorders. Your body, over time, adapts to the activities you are doing on a regular basis.
So, chances are you have become efficient at sitting by turning off some specific muscles and over-activating others.
Furthermore, people generally slouch, lean forward, or do anything that makes them feel comfortable while sitting. This leads to a range of posture-related issues. Your head protrudes forward, mid-back and shoulders start rounding, and the back arches excessively, causing an anterior pelvic tilt. Lousy posture affects your ability to do certain activities and your general well-being.
That’s why I have made a list of exercises for you to work out the muscles weakened by sitting all day and, as a result, rectify your posture.
1. Dead Hang
A dead hang can help to decompress and stretch the spine. It can also relax your chest and upper back muscles. Because both of your arms are parallel to the pull-up bar, the weight of your body is distributed evenly between the two.
This helps in realigning the body, straightening your back, and correcting any imbalances in the body.
Look for an assisted pull-up bar in your gym to perform this exercise. Grip the bar above as if you were doing a pull-up and allow your torso and legs to dangle. You should feel a stretch in your chest and armpits.
2. Side Planks
Side planks work the muscles in your core and hips, so they work the entire body, from your pelvic girdle to your shoulder girdle and legs. This exercise strengthens your spine, abs, rhomboid muscles, and traps muscles. Strengthening these muscles results in a strong posture.
Keep your elbow aligned with your shoulder as you set yourself on one side. To keep your body straight from head to toe, tighten your core. Hold this pose for 15-30 seconds, aiming for two minutes on each side.
3. Seated Row
Seated rows work the major back muscles, which are essential for good posture. Most gym-goers work the pressing/active muscles of the chest more than the supportive muscles of the back.
This can result in chest muscle dominance, causing rounding shoulders. That’s why strengthening your back muscles cannot be overstated for improving your posture.
On the rowing machine, grip the handles with your palms facing inward, keep your elbows tucked in, and pull the cable toward you. Maintain a straight back and bend your knees. As you pull the cable, try to squeeze your shoulder blades together.
4. Neck Flexion
All of those hours spent on your phone and laptop can result in a forward head posture. Maintain proper posture by keeping your ears in line with your shoulders.
To sustain that posture all the time, you must strengthen your deep neck muscles, which helps in creating stability and proper posture in the neck.
Place your face up on a flat surface. Tuck your chin in and lift your head 2 inches off the ground. Hold the position and then return your gaze to the floor, keeping your chin tucked. Do multiple sets throughout the day of 10 reps each.
5. Cobra Pose
This simple exercise will help you improve your posture by strengthening your back’s anti-slouch muscles, like the erector spinae and other low back muscles. This can help correct posture-related issues such as forward head posture and slumping shoulders.
Press down to the ground and lift your upper body, drawing your shoulders and back toward the back of the room while lying on your stomach with your hands under your shoulders. Hold this position for five deep breaths. Slowly lower yourself back down. Relax and do it again.
Pilates is a mind-body therapy that emphasizes core stability, flexibility, strength, and breathing. It has been shown to improve posture by improving spinal, scapular, and joint flexibility as well as strengthening the shoulder, back, and abs muscles.
It is excellent for providing long-term relief from postural pains and strains because of the emphasis on stance and control of body position.
If you don’t know how to do it all by yourself, you can also enroll in online Pilates classes that offer low-impact workouts and specific instructions based on the core Pilates principles.
Over to you…
Doing these exercises multiple times a day can help strengthen your underworked muscles and stretch out the overstressed muscles caused by sitting all day long. However, keep in mind that exercises can only take you so far.
For real, long-lasting changes, you need to make lifestyle changes like maintaining proper sitting posture and taking breaks in between for a short walk.