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6 Stretch Exercises To Fix Your Rounded Shoulders

6 Stretch Exercises To Fix Your Rounded Shoulders

To see if you have rounded shoulders, try looking at yourself in the mirror and let your arms fall naturally by your side. If your knuckles are facing you, then there’s a high chance you’re suffering from it.

When we slouch at our desk all day, we’re actually doing more harm to our spines and muscles than we can ever imagine. Our back muscles are stretched and strained, our chest muscles are shortened, the muscles in our shoulder blades weaken, all of which causing us to look like hunched back ogres.

To prevent from suffering such an unsightly feature, here are 6 simple stretch exercises that you can do every day.

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1. Shoulder Squeeze Stretch

The shoulder squeeze stretch exercise is so effective yet so simple to do that you can do it in your office while at work. Simply lock both hands behind your back and stretch as far back as possible. To do this effectively, you can pretend that you have an orange in between your arms and you are going to squeeze the juice out of it. Do this for 10 seconds per stretch 3-4 times a day.

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    2. Band Stretching Exercise

    With a little bit of resistance to the stretch, using an exercise band to stretch those worn out shoulders is also a great way to keep your posture in check. The external rotation with the band as shown below helps stretch the rotator cuff which is a group of tendons around the shoulder blades. To do this, simply wrap the band around a sturdy structure and with one hand, simply pull the band in a 180-degree motion towards you. Go back to the original position slowly and do for 10-15 repetitions per arm.

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      3. The Baby Cobra

      The baby cobra looks like a plank but has a different function to it. Doing the baby cobra pose actually helps to stretch those back muscles that are used to go into slouch position at almost half of your day. To perform this, simply lie flat on your stomach with your hands beside your shoulders. Slowly lift yourself up until you can feel the stretch on your lower back. Slowly go back down and repeat 10-12 times.

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        4. Bridge

        The bridge pose stretches your chest, shoulders and back. Not only that, it also helps you calm you down and helps to rejuvenate your tired legs. Simply lie on your back with your feet flat on the ground. Taking a deep breath, lift your hips off the floor as high as you can but without discomfort. Tuck your shoulders in and lock your hands together under your waist. Slowly lower yourself down and repeat 10-12 times.

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          5. Camel Pose

          The camel pose is an intermediate stretch position but when done correctly, it can give you an effective stretch on your back and shoulders. To do this, kneel on the floor with both legs flat and parallel to the ground. Push your buttocks forward and grasp a structure such as a chair behind. Breathe and lift your chest up to the sky and feel the stretch. Hold this position for 10-12 seconds and repeat.

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            6. Planking

            Planking has had a good reputation among people with back injuries or shoulder stiffness. The plank is so easy and effective and it also has an impressive list of benefits if done frequently. Some of the benefits include balance and posture, flexibility and what we’ve always wanted – a toned belly. Simply lie on your stomach and using your arms to support yourself, lift yourself up to get into the plank position with your back and buttocks parallel to the ground. Hold the position for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

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              Last Updated on October 16, 2018

              The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

              The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

              It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

              If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

              One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

              Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

              In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

              Why you can’t sleep through the night

              The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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              Stress

              If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

              Exposure to blue light before sleep time

              We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

              While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

              Eating close to bedtime

              Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

              Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

              Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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              Medical conditions

              In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

              The vicious sleep cycle

              The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

              Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

              You get a bad night’s sleep
              –> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
              –> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
              –> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

                You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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                How to sleep better (throughout the night)

                To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

                1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

                What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

                Here are a few suggestions:

                • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
                • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
                • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
                • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
                • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

                2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

                What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

                • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
                • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
                • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
                • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

                3. Adjust your sleep temperature

                Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

                Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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                Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

                Sleep better form now on

                Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

                I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

                As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

                Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

                Reference

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