Rounded shoulders and a hunched back might seem like they’re just part of the aging process, but they are not. And there is a good chance you can improve posture so you stand up taller, feel stronger, and have a lower risk for a potentially dangerous tumble.
It’s probably a lot easier than you think too. The key to better posture is often about changing some of your activities and habits and strengthening a couple of muscles.
Poor posture is generally caused by modern-day habits like slouching on the sofa while watching television, working at a computer, or looking down at a tablet or smartphone. It can also be from carrying heavy stuff, like equipment at work, grocery bags, purses, etc.
All of these activities can make you stoop over or pull your shoulders forward. The muscles in the back of your shoulders, which can help keep you standing up tall, become overstretched and weak while shortening the muscles in the front of your shoulders and chest. This causes the hunched-over, rounded shoulders look.
The core muscles in your abdominals and back also play a role in posture. Inactivity can reduce strength in these muscles and lead to stopping/leaning forwards. Your core muscles are crucial to lifting your body and keeping it upright.
The real key to fixing your posture is stretching and strengthening your back, core, shoulders, and chest muscles. You’ll ultimately want to strengthen the core and rear shoulders while focusing on stretching out the chest.
You can strengthen your shoulders by squeezing your shoulder blades together (scapula squeezes) for 30 seconds at a time and using resistance bands to perform rows. Attach the band to a fixed surface, grip it with your hands, and pull your elbows back.
To stretch out your chest, simply put your arms behind your back and grasp your forearms. If you can reach your elbows, even better! Hold the position for 15-30 seconds.
Strengthening your core can be done by planks or simply tightening the muscles by drawing your belly button inwards.
Take screen breaks, pull your phone to your face instead of looking down, and sit with a rolled towel between your shoulders while sitting on the sofa.
All of these tactics can help restore your posture in six to 12 weeks.