Stretching and Strengthening Exercises
Yes, there are plenty of stretching and strengthening
exercises that help to maintain good posture -- key in
keeping pain, tightness, and injury at bay. The
following stretching exercises help release tension. To
make the most of each stretch, hold each position for 20
to 30 seconds and repeat each one two or three times.
*Slowly bend your head down and up, looking down at your
chest, then up to the ceiling.
*Slowly bend your head side to side as though you are
going to touch your ear to each shoulder, while keeping
your shoulders down.
*Slowly rotate your head from side to side as though you
are going to look over each shoulder.
*Interlace your fingers behind your head and press your
elbows toward the wall behind you.
The following strengthening exercises help improve neck
and back posture. Breathe deeply as you hold each
position for five to 10 seconds and repeat each one 10
to 20 times.
*Press your forehead into your palms slowly, while not
allowing your hands to move forward.
*Place your right hand against the right side of your
head. Slowly push your head into your hand, using the
neck muscles to combat your hand's resistance.
*Repeat on the left side.
*Place both hands against the back of your head. Try to
push your head back, while resisting your head's
movement with your hands.
*Sit tall with your arms out to the sides and with your
elbows bent at right angles (as though you were framing
your head). Squeeze shoulder blades together, and relax.
Do these exercises every hour at your desk, or, at the
very least, several times a week, keeping yourself from
becoming one of many Americans who suffer from neck and
upper back tension. If you continue to experience severe
or chronic pain, see your doctor before risking
permanent damage to your muscles or nerves.
2000 Healtheon/WebMD. All rights reserved.