Some exercises you can do to correct your posture:
- Pectoral stretch: For this exercise, you will need to stand in an open doorway or corner with both hands above your head, on the door frame or wall. Now, lean forward until you feel a stretch in your shoulders. It should not be painful, just slightly uncomfortable. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat 3 times, as needed.
- Thoracic extension: Sit in a chair with both hands clasped behind your head, gently leaning backwards to look up at the ceiling. Hold this position for as long as is comfortable, repeat in sets of 10 several times a day.
- Arm slides: For this one you can sit, or stand with your back against a wall. Your wrists and elbows should also be against the wall. Slowly slide your arms as high as you can while keeping your wrists and elbows against the wall. You can do this 8-12 times, until it becomes uncomfortable.
- Knee to Chest: Lie flat on your back with your toes pointed upwards. Slowly bend your right knee and pull your leg up to your chest, then wrap your arms around your thigh, shin or knew and pull the knee towards your chest. Hold this for 20 seconds, or until it becomes uncomfortable then slowly return the leg back to it’s original position. Repeat this exercise 3 times per leg, alternating.
- Scapular squeeze: This one is easy: just stand straight with your arms at your sides and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold this for 5 seconds and release. DO 2 sets of 15.
- Cobra Stretch: This movement stretches tight abdominal and lower back muscles. Lay on your stomach with your legs extended and your palms on either side of head with your forearms and elbows flat on the ground. Slowly push your body upwards so that your weight is resting on your forearms and be sure to keep your hips on the ground. Once you reach a position that stretches, but is also comfortable, hold the pose for 10 seconds. Return back to the starting position and repeat up to 5 times.
- Mid-trap exercise: Lay on your stomach on a firm surface and place a pillow underneath your chest, placing both arms straight out to your sides with elbows and thumbs to the ceiling. Raise your arms off the ground and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Lower slowly to the original position, and repeat 15 times up to 3 sets. As this exercise gets easier, you may want to try holding weights in your hands.
- Lying Knee Stretch: Lay on your back with your legs extended straight out. Bend the right knee and position it so that it crosses over the left side of your body. Hold it in a position that allows you to feel a gentle, not uncomfortable, stretch in you back. Hold this position for 20 seconds and then tighten your core muscles to rotate back to centre. Repeat 3 times per side.
- Thoracic stretch: Sit on the floor with legs straight out in front of you. Hold your mid-thighs with your hands and curl your head and neck towards your belly button, then hold for 15 seconds. Repeat up to 3 times.
- Seated Stretch: This stretch is meant to lengthen the piriformis muscle over time while helping to ease back pain. Sit with a straight back and cross your left leg over your right leg, placing your foot next to your thigh and buttocks. Place your right arm on your leg and ease into a stretch with your back straight and chest lifted. Hold this for 20 seconds and repeat 3 times on alternating sides.
- Rowing exercise: This one is good if you have an elastic rope which you can wrap around an immovable object. Do this and hold one end of the rope in each hand. Sitting in a chair bend your arms 90 degrees and hold one end of the rope in each hand. Keeping your forearms vertical and elbows at shoulder level, pull back on the band and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Do 2 sets of 15 at a time.
- Yoga Cat: Start this common yoga pose by kneeling on all fours with your hands beneath your shoulders and knees below your hips. Gently arch your spine, inhale and tighten your core and back muscles to arch like a cat. Move slowly between positions and hold each for up to 10 seconds. You can repeat this a few times a day. Restful Pose
- Restful Yoga: The restful child’s pose relaxes your body and strengthens your back. Position yourself on the floor on your hands and knees. Your knees should be spread apart, just slightly wider than hip distance apart. Turn your toes in to touch and push your hips back while bending your knees. You should reach a comfortable seated position. Now extend your arms fully and stretch forward into a relaxed position. Hold for 20 seconds, then return to starting position. Repeat this 3 times or for as long as comfortable.
Follow these steps and you'll be on your way to better health, great posture and improved confidence in no time. Take care, and remember to wear your back brace regularly for the best results.