One Simple Tip to Improve Posture

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Forward or rounded shoulders is a very common condition that most of us suffer from. Whether it be caused by sitting for long periods at your desk, driving or your sporting activity or exercise, posterior neck and shoulder tightness complaints are the most common stressors of why people come for a sports massage treatment. In most cases the general tension and tightness that occurs within the posterior neck and shoulder muscles is usually a result of hyper-contracted or very tight muscles within the anterior chest and neck, as a result of poor posture in our unconscious activities such as sitting, walking and standing. Trying to then be conscious of changing this postural behaviour can be difficult because our brains associate performing tasks such as ‘stand up straight – hold your shoulders back’ as work. And almost everyone hates performing work. One of the simplest ways to gently alter your posture, progressively change the way you hold yourself and relax the tight muscles in your chest to avoid rolling your shoulders forward, causing that strain within your neck and shoulders is to: Stand at Ease… There is a reason why it is called this in Military Terms and a reason why it is given as a command to troops to adopt as a most restful position on ones feet. Because in this position the entire body is grounded and the body’s entire weight is distributed evenly throughout the system. This brings the body towards a more central state of homoeostasis and relaxation. The easiest way I like to remind myself to do this is… Whenever you are waiting in a queue at the bank or for a coffee, perform this stretch instead of having your hands forward or in your pockets. So as an ex soldier, I give you all out there the command to: Stand at Ease… Stand Easy.

What You'll Need

  • Hands out of pockets.
  • Nothing in your hands.

What You'll Do

  • With the feet in an open stance (about 30 cm apart), grasp one hand in the other behind your back (your preference as to which feels more comfortable), allowing them to rest upon the posterior pelvis and allow your body to relax.
  • This will naturally pull your shoulders into a more neutral anatomically correct position and take the pressure off of your neck, shoulders and upper back muscles. The longer you remain in this position, the more relaxed your posture will become.

Tips & Warnings

  • There can be many causes of neck and back pain and you should always seek professional advice and/or treatment if the tension is due to injury, comes on suddenly, is acute, sharp or stabbing pain, causes pain referral, produces numbness or parasthesia (pins & needles) in the area or another part of the body or ALWAYS, if for any reason you are concerned about the tension or pain and your body is telling you that it just does not feel right.
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