From the moment you wake up, the world is in the palm of your hand—figuratively. It’s in your smart phone. That one device wakes you up in the morning, gives you a weather report, tells you what’s trending, updates you on your friends, and reminds you there are 12 unread messages in your inbox—all before you make it to the bathroom to brush your teeth.
Laptops and tablets are are convenient, but they hurt your posture, which is why you need posture exercises.
Bad posture is a bad habit with long-term consequences, including sub-optimal performance, neck pain, tension, trigger points, mid-back strain, low-back pain, headaches and shoulder pain, to name a few.
Take a moment to picture your posture while you’re on your laptop or tablet or at your desk studying. I start slouching just thinking about it.
But have no fear! Posture exercises are easy to do throughout the day. Your goal is to keep your body in the best shape possible under the circumstances. Your spine goes everywhere with you, so take care of it!
Check out these 5 posture exercises. They can actually help you get stronger by improving your movement patterns while helping you feel better.
1. Chin Tuck
Have you ever wondered how much swiping, scrolling, flipping and tapping you do in one day? It’s a lot, trust me. Texting and reading on a device promote slouching. Neck muscles work to keep the head upright. By strengthening them, you protect your posture and stand tall! Place two finger pads on your chin, then gently push your chin back. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat 10 times daily.
RELATED: Prevent ‘Text Neck’ With 3 Simple Exercises
2. Scapular Retraction
Homework. The dreaded word. Endless reading and assignments that keep you stuck at your desk for hours. Hunching puts strain on the mid-back, which creates an imbalance between the front and back of the body. This misalignment can lead to poor sports performance. To offset the effects of studying on your posture, spend time targeting the muscles of your mid-back. Your posture exercise here is Shoulder Blade Pumps or Scapular Retractions. Squeeze, hold for 20 seconds and repeat 10 times daily.
RELATED: Your Posture is Hurting your Performance—Here’s How to Fix It
3. Pec Stretch
Another area of the body compromised by poor posture is the front of the shoulder. When you slouch, your shoulders follow your head forward. That leads to tight, shortened chest muscles (pectoralis). When you open up your chest muscles, it’s much easier to sit and stand up straight. With your arm straight out to the side, place your palm on a wall. Rotate your body so that you feel your pecs stretching. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat 10 times per day.
4. Pelvic Tilt
We can’t forget about the low back because it functions like a chain. Each link depends on the other links to be strong. If stress is added to the neck region, over time the low back must work harder to compensate to keep things in alignment. To strengthen your low back, perform pelvic tilt exercises. Lie on the floor and roll your pelvis backward so that you are pulling your belly button toward the floor. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 10 times daily.
RELATED: How to Fix Bad Posture and Move Better With 4 Exercises
5. Towel Roll
This one is easy. All you need is a towel and two rubber bands. Roll the towel into a log and place a rubber band around each end so it won’t unravel. Before you go to bed, lie with the towel under your neck. Keep your feet flat on the bed. Stay in this position for two minutes. It will open up the joints in your neck, stretch the front of your neck, increase your neck range of motion and get rid of stiffness caused by sitting hunched over at a desk.