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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.