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The Big Slump: Why Our Posture Is So Bad continued...
Hunching over your keyboard, she says, causes muscles in the upper back to
stretch and the corresponding muscles in the chest to tighten. This, in turn,
pushes the head forward and the ribcage down.
Assuming that posture day in and day out can cause you to not only slump
every time you're at your desk, but eventually, even when you're standing,
"Actual structural changes can begin to take place so that ultimately
you're slumped over all the time and standing up straight can actually become
painful and difficult," Fleming says.
Exercises to Improve Posture: The 1-Minute Solution
Although changing your posture may seem like a daunting task, experts say
real change can come about fairly quickly. Novak says you can begin the process
in less than a minute, with an "instant" realignment technique for
joints and bones.
How's it done? "From either a standing or sitting position, simply lift
your sternum, (the breast bone in the center of your chest) up just an inch or
two. It will dramatically change what is going in with your posture
instantly," says Novak, who details several other similar techniques
in her new DVD.
What's going on, she says, is that you're lifting your rib cage up off of
your midsection and stopping the curve in the back that takes place when you
slump forward. More important, she says "it helps you get your head back
over your shoulders where it belongs, plus it takes the stress off of the back
and neck muscles."
Novak says doing that one other move each time you find yourself slumping
forward will net you some real change in your day-to-day posture in as little
as 3 weeks' time.
"If you also add in a motion where you squeeze your shoulder blades
together towards your spine, and tuck them down as if you were trying to put
them in your back pocket, you'll begin to strengthen the back muscles that will
give additional support to your posture, so you may even see results
sooner," says Novak.