Thursday, June 13, 2013

STRAIGHTEN UP


"Are you shrinking?"  these three, cringe-worthy words are something you'd expect to hear echoing the hallways of a retirement home, not told to someone who has barely hit legal drinking age. Yet, I've heard it before. Not just once or twice, but on a number of occasions! If you're reading this, chances are your face is wincing along with mine. If it's not, there's an even better chance you've heard those three words too

While it certainly isn't a compliment, it has several other negative implications than just a slouchy appearance. For starters, your spine acts as your body's built-in shock absorber; therefore, when you allow it to hunch over, your body suffers many imbalances, leaving your body to resort to both muscles and ligaments in your legs, back, shoulders, and neck to compensate. As a result, your work out results are greatly hampered, rendering you more susceptible to injury. Rounding your back also yields adverse health effects: several studies have demonstrated an innate link between neck muscles and parts of the brainstem responsible for regulating blood pressure and heart rate. If you're troubled by these findings and want to straighten your stance, there are a few no-fail exercises that will guarantee progress...



1. PILATES: This move lengthens and stretches your body, while also strengthening your abs. While lying on your stomach, extend your arms and legs out, forming an X. Relax your shoulders and really focus on your abdominal muscles. After a deep inhale, lift your arms and legs from the ground, making sure your arms and legs are no higher than one another. Then, exhale, bend your elbows toward your waistline and pull your legs back together. {6-8 repetitions}
2. BALLET: Like a long, lean ballerina, your goal here is to again lengthen your spine and engage your core. Standing with your heels touching and your toes turned out, keep your shoulders down while raising your arms overhead. Focusing on your abs, reach for your toes while keeping your back as straight as possible. With arms raised, stand up and arch your back slightly. {8 repetitions}
3. YOGA: Widen your stance by about 4 ft. and turn your left foot to a 90 angle. While bending your left knee, extend your arms to shoulder height {make sure your palms are facing down}. Bend your left knee till it's over your ankle. Then, reach your right arm over your ear and turn your chin toward your right armpit. Switch sides. {3-5 repetitions}
4. ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE: Kneel with your hands resting on an inflated ball. Roll the ball away from your body, keeping your neck in align with your spine. Roll the ball away from you until you are as stretched out as far as possible. Roll the ball to the left and right a few times, stretching further each roll. The idea here is lengthen your spine. 

Do you have problems with your posture? What has been the greatest help for you? Share your feedback below!

XO Taylor

Source: photos & post inspired by Women's Health Magazine. To read in detail, visit here

2 comments:

Pin It button on image hover