Yoga comes from yolk, a Sanskrit word that means “unite.” The philosophical definition of yoga is to unify the mind, body, and soul. It is a 5000-year-old tradition practiced worldwide by people seeking to connect their mind, body, and soul.
Traditionally, people thought of yoga as a mode of exercise. However, today, yoga is a remedy for acute and chronic illnesses, including mental, physical, and spiritual health conditions.
Yoga is a powerful relaxation and stress-reduction tool. It promotes relaxation in the same way as a massage and focuses more on drawing attention toward deep diaphragmatic breathing.
As a result, yoga produces a meditative effect on your mind and streamlines the brain’s overall function. Today’s article will discuss whether yoga improves physical and mental wellbeing. Read on!
Regulates Adrenal Glands
Yoga regulates your adrenal glands, allowing them to respond to acute crises and boosting the overall immune function. A growing body of research evidence shows that yoga can improve long-term memory by streamlining adrenal glands functions and neuronal activity in the brain.
On the other hand, malfunctioning adrenal glands can cause major depressive disorders, such as stress and anxiety, and lead to physical illnesses like osteoporosis and arthritis.
Osteoporosis is the extraction of calcium and other essential nutrients from bones and musculoskeletal structures, causing severe discomfort, inflammation, and pain. A compromised adrenal gland can also cause high blood pressure and insulin resistance.
So, if you want to protect yourself from these chronic conditions, we recommend practicing yoga regularly to reduce the risks and maintain your adrenal glands’ function.
Gives Peace of Mind
Numerous research studies have confirmed that yoga promotes relaxation and allows people to achieve peace of mind. It slows down the psychological loops of regret, frustration, fear, and anger, leading to higher stress levels.
Because stress can cause headaches, migraines, insomnia, and other chronic health condition, such as hypertension, eczema, lupus, and cardiovascular problems, you can practice yoga and meditation to achieve peace of mind.
For instance, physical postures combined with meditation increase blood flow to the brain, causing it to suppress cortisol and speed up serotonin and dopamine production. Dopamine and serotonin cause feelings of happiness and joy.
Many people suffer from acute or chronic low self-esteem. Low self-confidence will take a massive toll on your life, increasing the risks of drug abuse, overeating, poor sleeping patterns, and deteriorated physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing.
The good news is that you can prevent these problems and boost your self-confidence by practicing yoga. If you practice yoga to examine your inner self and improve your self-esteem, you will see different sides of yourself in no time. We recommend practicing yoga under the guidance of a guru or teacher to achieve your goals.
Boosts Immune System
Asanas and pranayama are functional and meditative poses that improve your overall immune structure and function. Numerous studies show that yoga, including asanas and pranayama, can:
Recharge the body
Release negative energy
Strengthen immune cells
Yoga is an excellent way to build resilience inside and out. For example, some yoga postures can support, balance, strengthen, and boost your immune system. Meditation combined with physical postures can fight oxidative stress and reduce the risk of cellular damage.
Regularly practicing yoga systemically reduces stress, cutting down inflammation and degeneration. Pranayama is one of the basic yoga poses and is easy to perform, but they are very effective for boosting immunity and instilling positive energy into your body.
In addition, you can practice pranayama with Sukhasana to promote deep breathing, alleviate cortisol and other stress hormones, optimize heart rate, and strengthen the immune system to fight free radicals and external pathogens, including viruses and bacteria.
Releases Tension in Limbs
Not maintaining a good exercise routine and eating unhealthy food can take a massive toll on your musculoskeletal system, including muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, and nerves.
On the other hand, if you perform heavy exercises without proper techniques, you will experience chronic muscle fatigue and soreness in your arms, shoulders, wrists, neck, and face, increasing stress and worsening your mood.
However, as you practice yoga and meditation, you will notice where you hold tension. For instance, you may hold it in your eyes, tongue, or neck/face muscles. Because yoga teaches you to focus on a single point and avoid distractions, you can release the tension and improve your limbic system’s function.
Maintains Nervous System
Practicing yoga enables you to control your body in various ways. For example, you can achieve unusual heart rhythms, generate brain-wave patterns, and practice meditation to raise or lower your body temperature.
In addition, yoga involves performing physical poses or exercises that increase blood flow to your brain, strengthen neuronal structures, and streamline central nervous and peripheral nervous systems’ functions.
Improved flexibility is another benefit of practicing yoga. If you have tight hips, knee joint pain, limited range of motion, or improper alignment of shinbones and thighs, you can practice yoga to relieve these symptoms and increase your body’s flexibility.
In addition, tight hamstrings can cause lumbar spine discomfort, inflammation, and pain and increase the risk of disability. Similarly, muscle inflexibility or connective tissue problems, including fascia and ligament pain, can cause poor posture. So, yoga is an excellent way to improve your body’s flexibility and prevent/fix these problems.
Maintains Heart Rate
Yoga poses, such as savasana, lower the resting heart rate, improve oxygen uptake, and increase endurance. As a result, you have a reduced risk of suffering from acute and chronic cardiovascular disease or heart disorder.
Likewise, if you suffer from hypertension, you can practice yoga to lower blood pressure levels, balance cholesterol, and increase energy levels. We recommend practicing the corpse pose to improve your heart rate.
Yoga is a holistic health approach that positively affects all cells, tissues, and muscles in your body. It produces neuroeffectors and streamlines neuronal and nervous communication with the brain and other systems, leading to optimal cellular, tissue-level, and organ-systems structures and functions.
Therefore, nothing is better than practicing yoga regularly if you want to improve your body structure and function, achieve tranquility, positive attitude, and balance. Until Next Time!
Work-life balance is important to maintaining your wellbeing and productivity. It helps you balance your personal and professional life and encourages you to divide your time based on your priorities.
Maintaining a balance by devoting time to yourself, family, health, vacations, business, travel, and career is essential to living a happier and more prosperous life. Work-life balance can:
Reduce workplace burnout
Fewer instances of absenteeism
Improve mental health
Better family relations
But how do you achieve work-life balance? What are the most practical ways to streamline your life and achieve your goals? Today’s article will highlight a few evidence-based methods/strategies to help you maintain a healthy work-life balance. Read on!
Divide Goals into Smaller Objectives
Dividing goals into smaller objectives make them easier to achieve. Develop SMART goals for success by making them more specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.
The SMART strategy is an excellent way to push yourself further, create a sense of direction, and organize yourself. Thus, you can achieve your goals efficiently, reliably, and quickly.
Therefore, divide your goals into multiple objectives and set a specific duration/timeline. Work on a single objective and move to the next one after you have completed the current one.
Most people think that multitasking can increase productivity. However, this is a misconception. For example, completing paperwork, responding to dozens of emails, and compiling different resources to complete a project can lead to stress and burnout.
On the other hand, you can divide a goal into smaller objectives and work on each one at a time. For instance, allocate time to respond to emails and document compilation and reward yourself after completing a specific objective.
Take a Break from Work
Taking a break from work soothes your mind, restores energy levels, and helps you maintain your work-life balance. While not everyone has the budget to go for a vacation, celebrating your bi-annual or annual leaves is essential to your wellbeing.
So, a break from your office work allows you to spend time with your family or kids and enjoy yourself. Likewise, this enables you to recuperate and recharge your mind, body, and soul.
Remember, this is essential to improve productivity and focus when you return to the workplace. A growing body of research evidence shows that spending time with family or friends can reduce stress and increase productivity.
So, if you have enough budget to visit another city, state, or country, don’t hesitate to go for a vacation. According to the American Sociological Association, vacationing can reduce psychological distress and improve overall health.
Take Short Breaks Throughout the Day
Some people don’t have the option to take time off, so in that case, you can encourage yourself to take smaller breaks throughout the day. Bear in mind that your body and mind can’t tolerate continuous working, such as staring at a computer screen for hours.
Otherwise, you will experience burnout, stress, fatigue, low energy, and decreased productivity. So, ask your boss to create a games room in the office where you and your colleagues can socialize and distract themselves from work for a short period.
In addition, perform light exercises in the office gym and introduce walking meetings to your team members. Request a colleague to take a short walk and grab a cup of coffee.
You can also subscribe to Netflix and other streaming platforms to watch a movie clip or documentary or listen to music on YouTube to relax your mind. All these techniques/methods will positively impact your mind and increase workplace performance, productivity, and satisfaction.
Learn to Say No
If you are a people pleaser, you will experience stress, low self-esteem, anxiety, and workload. For example, if your colleague says they have an appointment with a doctor and requests you to prepare the report, you can help them.
While this is good from an ethical perspective, saying “YES” every time a colleague requests help will make you feel sick and increase stress/anxiety. Therefore, learn the art of saying “no” to people and prioritize your own work.
Understand and acknowledge your skills and make substantial efforts to streamline your office work. While you can help your relatives, friends, and colleagues from time to time, if they make a habit of asking you for help, say “NO” right away without worrying about the consequences.
If your relative, friend, or colleagues does not accept “NO,” they are not truthful to you or do not respect you. So, stand firm, and avoid feeling compelled to give justifications to everyone. Believe in yourself!
Set aside some time for physical activity or exercise, and plan for nutritious and balanced meals to improve your health. Spending quality time with your family members and loyal friends is integral to self-care. Bear in mind that self-care is not a luxury but a necessity.
When physically active, you improve your brain’s wellbeing, maintain a healthy weight, and reduce the risk of acute and chronic health conditions. Exercise increases blood flow to your brain, causing it to release dopamine and serotonin. These two hormones improve your mood and make you feel happier.
In addition, a healthy diet is essential for your overall physical and mental wellbeing. It protects you from chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. A healthy body and mind mean a happy life and increased performance at the workplace.
Follow Pomodoro Strategy
Do you want to increase your performance and stay productive at the workplace? If yes, focus on your time management skills and follow a sophisticated technique called the Pomodoro method to manage your time efficiently.
The Pomodoro method requires you to leverage the use of a timer. For example, you set a timer for 20 minutes and work diligently to complete a task within the duration. Once the timer goes off, you take a five to ten minutes break.
So, this strategy is an excellent way to utilize your time, increase productivity, restore energy levels, and complete your tasks/projects efficiently, reliably, professionally, and quickly.
Lack of work-life balance can cause severe problems, negatively affecting your relationship with your spouse, parents, kids, and friends. It also drains your brain and fatigues your body. So, follow the strategies above to maintain your work-life balance and achieve your goals. Until Next Time!
Depression is a mood disorder or psychological illness characterized by persistent sadness, negative thoughts, loss of interest, anger, and frustration. Depression, a major depressive disorder, affects your physical and mental health. It affects how you think, feel, and behave.
So, it leads to various physical and emotional issues, taking a massive toll on your day-to-day activities, disrupting your work-life balance, causing loneliness, and affecting relationships with others. Although you can take medications like SSRIs to deal with depression, these meds can cause severe side effects.
On the other hand, psychotherapy is a side-effect-free and effective treatment option for people with depression. Today’s article will discuss common symptoms of depression and highlight five types of psychotherapy that can help you overcome depressive symptoms. Read on!
Common Symptoms of Depression
Although depression symptoms vary from person to person because each individual has their own circumstances or external stimuli that affect their brain and cause depression. However, the most common symptoms are:
Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
Loss of interest in daily activities
Changes in weight and appetite
Sleep problems, including insomnia
Irritability, anger, and frustration
Loss of energy and fatigue
Self-loathing, reckless behavior, and unexplained aches/pains
Concentration issues with difficulty remembering things or making decisions
If you have these symptoms, the chances are that you suffer from depression, anxiety, mood disorder, or stress. You can consult a psychologist or psychiatrist to seek treatment for depression.
However, most psychiatrists prescribe antidepressants, muscle relaxants, and tranquilizers to help patients cope with depression. However, these medications lead to side effects, such as:
Constipation or diarrhea
Loss of appetite
Dizziness and drowsiness
Headaches and migraines
What Is Psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy is an alternative treatment option for mental health conditions, including depression. It involves communication between a therapist and patient to find relief for negative thoughts and emotional distress while reducing symptoms like fear, anxiousness, and frustration.
There are different types of psychotherapy for depression, and each one’s efficacy depends on the patient’s specific symptoms and circumstances. So, without further ado, let us discuss the five most effective psychotherapies for depression.
Cognitive therapy, also known as cognitive behavior therapy, is a form of psychological remedy/treatment. A growing body of research evidence shows that cognitive therapy effectively treats depression and related disorders, such as anxiety, stress, drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, and marital issues.
A cognitive therapist will help you learn to recognize your distortions in thinking that cause problem. At the same time, the therapist will help you reevaluate your thoughts and develop realistic/effective methods to cope with negative feelings. In addition, you will better understand things that trigger motivation.
Behavioral therapy is a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy. Although most people take antidepressants to bring positive changes in their behaviors, nothing is better than behavioral or talk therapy to reduce symptoms of depression.
The primary reason is that behavioral therapy allows you to express your feelings and emotions and release negative energy. We recommend looking for a highly trained, board-certified, and experienced behavioral therapist to make the most of the treatment.
During the therapy sessions, the therapist will help you become aware of your thoughts and teach you how to replace them with positive ones. Remember, changing your thoughts is directly proportional to altering your behavior and attitude, reducing the overall risk of chronic depression.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Dialectal behavior therapy is famous for its efficiency and reliability in treating borderline personality disorder. However, several studies have found that this therapy is an excellent treatment option for people with depression. It can help you overcome emotional and behavioral challenges.
Although combining talk therapy with medication can improve depression symptoms for most people, dialectal therapy is a holistic approach that combines cognitive, behavioral, and acceptance-based methods/therapies, allowing patients to learn new coping skills and mitigate complications related to depression.
Overcoming depressive symptoms is daunting, challenging, and time-consuming, especially if you suffer from chronic depression. Dialectal behavior therapy enables you to accept yourself. It encourages you to avoid negative thoughts, become more productive, and find ways to overcome depression. Health professionals recommend this therapy for people with symptoms like:
Persistent sadness and frustration
Lack of interest in daily activities
Difficulty remembering, focusing, and concentrating
Body aches, pains, fatigue, or other physical manifestations of depression
People have different causes of depression, such as a chemical imbalance in the brain or a stressful event like losing a loved one, undergoing a divorce, or losing a job; Depression can affect your relationships and cause severe problems with interpersonal connections.
The primary objective of interpersonal therapy is to improve your communication skills and rebuild connections/relationships with family members, friends, colleagues, neighbors, etc.
Your therapist will conduct a thorough interview with you to learn about your problems, including challenges in your personal relationships. The therapist will evaluate your situation and develop a comprehensive plan to resolve critical issues.
Last but not least, psychodynamic therapy requires a health professional/therapist to examine your past, identify triggers that led to depression, and develop solutions to fix the underlying problem/situation. Psychodynamic therapy is a core component of Freudian psychoanalysis and an effective treatment option for depression.
During the therapy sessions, your therapist will help you become aware of your feelings and emotions and express them clearly without hassle. The purpose is to release negative energy and help you create a sense of awareness, calmness, relaxation, and wellbeing.
Genetics, environmental, seasonal, and interpersonal situations not in your favor are the leading causes of depression. However, thyroid diseases, smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, imbalanced diet, social media overload, and family tensions can also cause depression. While medications can improve your symptoms, undergoing psychotherapy is an excellent way to overcome depression without adverse effects. Until Next Time!
Good posture depends on different variables, such as keeping your pelvis straight, your spine in its proper curve, and your shoulders back. Your feet are foundational structure in your body that maintain your overall body posture.
Your feet act as the trunk of a tree. People who fail to work equally throughout their feet will disturb the body alignment, leading to various issues, including discomfort, inflammation, and pain.
That’s why it is essential to maintain your feet posture. The crucial thing is to ensure equal distribution of your weight between your toes. If you fail to work equally throughout your feet muscles, it will offset your body’s alignment.
In today’s article, I will talk about the importance of foot posture, how your feet affect body posture and exercises to maintain good foot posture. Make sure you read this guide carefully to grasp all the essential information and get the most out of it. Read on!
The Importance of Foot Posture
Right foot posture allows your body to activate other muscles. For example, when you push down into your toe, it helps you connect with the pelvic floor. If it is hard connecting to that, it will affect your body’s back chain, especially into the lower glutes.
Remember, this is not a one-sided connection because when you strengthen other parts of your body, it helps your feet posture. For instance, strengthening your inner thigh and glute muscles can alleviate pronation, leading to better feet and overall body posture.
Do your Feet Affect Posture?
Several research studies have highlighted the significance of correct weight distribution in the feet. It gives your body adequate postural alignment. Likewise, it is an excellent foundation in your exercise or yoga practice.
Besides, proper weight-bearing of your feet is directly proportional to good standing postures. On the other hand, the uneven distribution of weight on your feet can significantly affect your overall body posture.
A 2009 research study conducted by the American Podiatric Medical Association highlighted that at an average, a person walks 10,000 steps in one day. Because this is too much movement in the body, the muscles and joints in your feet and ankles have stress or pressure.
Thus, it is hard on your body and back muscles, leading to alteration of your feet’ mechanics. The study also highlights that too much walking affects the legs and pelvic region. If you feel pronation in your feet, your arches will collapse, and ankles roll in, meaning they may not properly support your posture.
Moreover, research shows that it rotates the knees inward and over arch the spine. Your shoulder likewise rolls forward and leads to bad posture. Over time, bad posture can cause damages to your muscles, joints, and ligaments.
Best Feet Posture Exercises
It is essential to know how you stand and maintain your body alignment, especially your feet posture. A qualified physical therapist, yoga instructor, or chiropractor can tell you how to keep your body’s physiology and alignment with exercises. Continue reading!
Move through the foot
Experts recommend going or moving through your feet’s range of motion. It helps align your feet with the rest of the body. Here are the steps to do with exercise.
Start the exercise by flexing your feet at the ankles
Make sure your toes are relaxed
Now, curl your toes while keeping flexion
Then, point your foot entirely until there is a stretch in your foot’s front
Curl your toes back and finish the exercise by pushing through the heel
Perform at least ten repetitions on each foot
Use a Yoga Block
Using a block is an excellent exercise to strengthen your calf, Achilles heel, and feet. Experts say that working through the exercise can also benefit your plantar fasciitis. Here are steps to perform this exercise.
Start the workout by standing on stairs or a yoga block
Hang your heels off the block and flex at the ankle
Lift your foot’s inside part by putting weight on your outside part of the foot
Make sure you feel the stretch in the middle of the foot and ankle
The towel stretch is an excellent exercise to improve the range of motion and flexibility of your feet. It works on your feet and toes, strengthens them, and increase range of motion. Here is how you can do this exercise.
Grab a towel off the ground by curling your toes and then slowly release it
Take note of your toes and determine which one grabs the towel fully
That way, you can find out the weaker toes and work on them
Do this at least ten times a day
Sitting & Rolling Stretch
It is a great exercise that maintains your overall feet posture and strengthens your legs and knees. Sitting and rolling stretch can relieve muscle soreness, tightness, and inflammation in your feet. It also increases the range of motion and improves flexibility in feet muscles. Here are the steps!
Sit down in a relaxed position and straighten out your legs in front of you
Rotate your foot outward and inward
Make sure you move the leg properly
Keep the flexion in your toes while moving your leg
Standing Foot Activation
It is some sort of a balance maintaining exercise that strengthens your legs and feet and supports your spine. The exercise leads to improved muscle tone, blood circulation and even boosts your mental health. I won’t be wrong if I say this is an all-round body exercise. Here is how you can perform this exercise. Keep reading!
Stand on your feet with shoulder-width apart
Press into your big toe and then the one next to it
Continue pressing until you reach the pinky toe
Next, reverse from these toes to your big toe
Your feet are the most important part of your body that provide a foundation to all your bones and muscles in the body. It is essential to treat your feet with kindness to ensure proper alignment and posture.
Besides these exercises, you can use essential oils to massage your feet. That way, you increase blood circulation to your feet, reduce inflammation, decrease tiredness and fatigue, and maintain good posture.
Good posture is essential for your overall health and wellbeing. Many people think that good posture strengthens muscles. However, it is also beneficial for mental health. Posture refers to your body position when you sit, stand, or lie down. Poor posture can cause a wide range of health problems, such as:
Spinal, shoulder, and neck pain
Impaired lung function
Poor blood circulation
Misaligned spinal structures
Headaches and jaw pain
What is Good Posture?
A growing body of research evidence shows that good posture benefits your physical and mental health. The question is: what is good posture? It is your body’s proper alignment when standing or sitting.
It involves training your body against gravity through supportive structures like muscles and ligaments. Maintaining a good posture means putting less strain or tension on your muscles and ligaments.
Besides, good posture keeps your bones and joints in proper alignment. It reduces the likelihood of wear and tears on your muscles, bones, joints, tendons, and ligaments. Next, I will talk about the importance of good posture. Read on!
Reduces Back and Neck Pain
Your spine’s proper alignment allows your body to move correctly while supporting your weight. When you have a good posture, you will have the least strain on your muscles. Research shows that poor posture can put pressure on your muscles, ligaments, and tendons, causing back and neck pain.
People with back or neck pain should maintain good posture by performing physical therapy exercises. The purpose is to reduce inflammation in the muscles, decrease pain, and strengthen your back and neck.
Improves Digestive System
Many people wonder how posture impacts digestion. Studies show that slouching puts a person’s body in an unnatural position, affecting the abdominal organs. For instance, when you hunch or stoop over at your desk, it interferes with your digestion.
Likewise, when you slouch while looking at your smartphone, it can affect your abdominal muscles. As a result, you have increased acid reflux and constipation. If you have heartburn when slouching, make sure you sit up straight to relieve the condition.
Enhances Muscle and Joint Function
Proper posture is directly proportional to the adequate functioning of muscles, joints, and other body structures. Maintaining good posture means avoiding abnormal wear and tear. Because poor posture puts pressure on your joints, they can tear away quickly.
Studies show that poor posture leading to wear and tear of joints is a common cause of osteoarthritis. However, other factors such as age, genetics, and diet also elevate the risk of arthritis. It is crucial to reduce the amount of stress on your joints to maintain proper alignment, decrease fatigue or strain, and keep them lubricated.
Boosts Mental Health
Many people believe that posture has nothing to do with mental health because it is most often due to poor quality of life, diet, and stress. Remember, your brain and body are synchronized with each other, meaning that posture can impact your mental health, and your psychological issues can affect your posture. It’s two-way communication.
A happy person often sits upright, while a person with stress or depression will slouch or sit improperly. For example, if you have stress, you will probably sit in a slumped position. Therefore, try changing your posture when you feel stressed or depressed.
For instance, you can stand up straight and inhale fresh oxygen to boost your mood. Practicing good posture with deep breathing increases blood flow to your brain, releasing serotonin and dopamine. Both chemicals suppress your stress levels and improve your mood.
Strengthen Spinal Muscles
Good posture is a simple and easy way to maintain your spinal health. Although it is not easy to practice mindfulness, you can correct your posture to support your spine. For instance, if you spend more time sitting at your desk or standing throughout the day, it can affect your spinal muscles.
Therefore, experts recommend standing and sitting with proper alignment to increase blood flow to your muscles. That way, you will keep your blood vessels and nerves healthy. Besides, good posture also support your spinal structures, including muscles, ligaments, and tendons. If you maintain the correct posture, you will have a reduced likelihood of experiencing back and neck pain.
How to Improve your Posture When Sitting?
People in the US spend most of their time sitting at the office and home. As a result, they have poor posture, which leads to spinal issues and muscle-related problems. It is crucial to sit correctly and take frequent breaks to maintain proper alignment. Here is how you can maintain your posture when seated. Keep reading!
Frequently switch your positions
Take short walks around your home or office
Stretch your muscles to relieve pressure or tension
Don’t sit with crossed legs and keep your feet on the ground
Relax your upper body and ensure they are not rounded
Bend your elbows between 90 and 120 degrees
How to Improve your Posture When Standing?
Standing up for a prolonged period can put a strain on your muscles, especially in the spine. It can lead to disorders like scoliosis, spondylosis, and bulging discs. Bear in mind that your lumbar spine’s health is vital. If your lower back has problems, it can lead to chronic pain, and you may undergo surgery to treat the problem.
Most often, surgery involves making a large incision in the back, leading to a higher risk of infection. Open-back surgery also does not spare delicate muscles, tissues, and joints in your spine. Thus, it can cause various complications. Therefore, if you want to avoid surgery, pay attention to good posture when standing.
Stand up upright or straight
Keep your upper body back, including your shoulders
Pull your abdominal muscles in
Put your weight on your feet balls
Keep your head level
Hang your arms at your sides naturally
Maintain a distance of shoulder-width apart between your feet
Good posture is essential for your physical health and wellbeing. Not maintaining good posture means spinal problems, including strains, sprains, wear and tear, bulging discs, scoliosis, and others. In this post, I have talked about the importance of good posture and how you can maintain it when sitting and standing.
Research shows that proper shoulder posture is crucial for your upper body health and wellbeing. Activities like sitting, standing, driving, exercising, and using smartphones, involves your shoulders doing them.
Although some people train their bodies to keep shoulders back, most people do not keep their bodies straight, leading to shoulder problems. The most common problem is a rounded shoulder. I will talk about it in this article, but first, you need to know that slouching at your office desk can cause neck, shoulder, and back pain.
The rounded shoulder position can cause the upper crossed syndrome, a condition characterized by tightened chest muscles and shoulder muscles. These muscles are major and minor pectoralis and levator scapulae.
What are Rounded Shoulders?
“Rounded shoulders” is a common term used to describe an abnormal shoulder posture. It refers to a resting shoulder position or move-forward position from the ideal alignment of the body. For instance, when you position your shoulder further forward than normal, this is called a rounded shoulder. It increased your upper back slouching, known as Thoracic Kyphosis.
Causes of Rounded Shoulders
There are several causes of poor shoulder posture. The most common among them are sitting in front of a computer for extended periods, reading or texting on your smartphone with your head down, and driving for a prolonged time in a bad posture.
Studies show that excessive overhead activities, weight training that involves your chest or torso, shoulder injuries, dysfunctions, and sleeping with a bad posture can also cause rounded shoulders.
Some activities like breastfeeding, carrying heavy backpacks, and cycling in poor posture can lead to rounded shoulders. Next, I will talk about exercises that will help you maintain good shoulder posture. Read on!
Because your shoulders and chest get tight during prolonged sitting, the doorway stretch is an excellent exercise to loosen your upper body muscles. The activity also increases the range of motion in the pectoralis major and minor to avoid rounded shoulders. Here is how you can do the doorway stretch.
Align your hands and shoulders with a doorframe
Step through the frame slowly to feel the stretch in your shoulders
Stay in this position for at least 20 seconds
Return to the starting position
Repeat the exercise 3-5 times
The lower trapezius is an important muscle that helps move and position your scapula. It also maintains your dynamic scapula stability. “Wall slide” is an excellent stretch to keep your shoulder posture and avoid complications of rounded shoulders. It strengthens your low trapezius muscles and focuses on the serratus anterior. Follow the steps given below to do this exercise properly.
Stand straight with your spine to the wall
Align your upper and lower back with the wall
Move your feet out about 10-12 inches from the wall
Keep your elbows bent at 90 degrees
Point your hands toward your head
Press your arms against the wall
Slide your arms up toward the head and then back down
Perform at least ten repetitions in one set
Band Pull Aparts
Band Pull Apart is another beneficial exercise you can do at home to strengthen your shoulders and maintain good posture. The exercise focuses on your spinal muscles, including the Rhomboids and Mid Trapezius, which help bring your shoulder back.
The workout works on all major shoulder and upper back muscles. It helps strengthen your muscles and give them a desired shape and tone. Here are the steps to perform this exercise adequately.
Start the exercise in a standing position and make sure you maintain good posture
Hold a resistance band with your hands and keep your elbows straightened
Make sure your arms are in front of you and lock your elbows
Now, move your arms out and back behind the body
Feel contracting and squeezing between your shoulder blades and muscles
Make sure there is no pain in your neck and arms
Do not shrug your shoulders toward your ears
Perform at least ten repetitions in 2-3 sets
Reverse Shoulder Stretch
It is an excellent exercise that works on your chest and shoulders. The exercise opens up your shoulder muscles and maintains your biceps health. The workout requires you to have some shoulder flexibility. If you have pain in the shoulders, make sure you shorten the range of motion. Otherwise, the exercise won’t benefit you. Instead, it will lead to complications. Follow these steps to perform the reverse shoulder stretch.
Stand properly, look straight, and keep your feet shoulder-width apart
Keep your arms at your sides and hook, then hook them behind your back
Make sure your thumbs point toward the ground or floor
Open your chest while standing tall, and move your hands back toward the ceiling
Continue moving your hands until your feel a stretch in your biceps and shoulders
Stay in this position for at least 30 seconds and release the stretch
Do at least 2-3 sets 1-2 times a day to maintain your shoulder posture
Lateral Neck Flexion Stretch
Another great exercise, lateral flexion stretch, focuses on your scalene and trapezius muscles. These muscles play a crucial role in your shoulder and neck posture. Likewise, if you want to streamline your breathing, the lateral neck flexion stretch will get the job done. Here is how you can perform this stretch.
Sit or stand upright while keeping your shoulder back and down
Pull your right ear toward your right shoulders to get a stretch in the left side of your neck
Now, repeat the same steps for the other side – i.e., your left shoulder so that you feel stretch in the right side of your neck
Perform at least two sets on each side. Make sure you hold the stretch for 30 seconds
Sitting and standing with good posture allows you to work efficiently and feel less strain or fatigue on your shoulder muscles. When you do these exercises regularly, you will have strengthened shoulder, neck, chest, and back muscles.