Fitness and Pilates trainer Juliet Kaska, whose clients include Kerry Washington, Pink and Karlie Kloss has a thing about correct posture.
She gets that common daily habits such as looking down at the phone or slumping while seated can lead to more serious health concerns like chronic back and neck pain. Luckily there are simple solutions to correct these habits that include exercises and stretches to counter your own bad posture habits specifically, whether it’s the way you drive or the way you hold your phone.
Juliet shares, “In order to improve posture, you’ll need to alter bad habits. You’ll also need exercises to strengthen the muscles that are not doing their job and stretch those that are over-working. There is work involved in adjusting your posture, but once your body has learned to hold itself correctly, it becomes effortless to maintain.”
Bad Habit No. 1: Holding the phone below chest height | Rounded upper back and neck
New Habit: Hold your phone up at chin level while reading and responding to messages.
Corrective Stretch: Lay down lengthways on a foam roller or a 2-3 large towels rolled up- bring your arms out to the side with the elbow bent, palms facing up- like you’re making a goal post with your arms. Keeping the elbow bent bring the arms overhead till fingertips touch and then back to goal posts. Do these 3 times a day for 1-2 minutes.
Corrective Posture Exercise: Bent over Close Grip Rows, with free weights. Hold 1 weight in each hand, palms facing one another. Place one foot forward, then hinge forward at the hips keeping the back flat- do NOT allow the upper back to round. Bend the elbows pull the weights to the outside of your ribcage and drawing your shoulder blades together. 3 sets of 15 reps.
Bad Habit No. 2: Using a low computer monitor | Forward head syndrome
New Habit: Raise your monitor up so the middle of your screen is in line with your eyes.
Corrective Stretch: Sit up tall in a chair you’re your back straight. Tilt you head to the right bringing your right ear toward your right shoulder. Place your right hand on the left side of your head gently bringing your ear closer to your shoulder. You will feel the stretch along the left side of your neck and upper trapezius muscle. Do these 3 or more times a day for 30-60 seconds on each side.
Corrective Posture Exercise: Sit up tall in a chair with your back straight. Have your head level, so that your chin is parallel with the floor. Draw your head straight without lilting the chin up or down, until you feel the back-neck muscles activate. Hold the muscle engagement for 30-60 seconds. Repeat 3 or more times throughout the day. Best if done right after the stretch.
Bad Habit NO. 3: Slumping while seated: driving, eating watching TV, working.
New Habit: Draw your shoulder blades back, and imagine you have a string attached to the top of your head that is pulling your spine tall.
Corrective Stretch: Bring your hands together behind your back, with the fingers interlaced. Lift your arms up and away from your body till you feel the stretch across the front of the shoulders and chest muscles.
Corrective Posture Exercise: Bent over Reverse Flies, with free weights. Hold 1 light weight in each hand. Place one foot forward, then hinge forward at the hips keeping the back flat- do NOT allow the upper back to round. Round the arms in front of you like they are around a beachball. Open the arms to the side, lifting then up in line with the shoulders. Resist as you lower the arms back to the starting position. 3 sets of 15 reps.