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5 Minute Office Workout to Combat Bad Posture

CAC_Jan2019_revised

Fight bad posture with five-minute office workout Working at a computer and spending time on a cell phone can certainly take its toll on posture and can affect shoulders, chest and neck. Doing a simple five-minute office workout like this one can stop poor posture in its tracks. Sit to stand Do 16 reps, two sets. Start with sitting toward the front edge of a chair with toes just below knees and the feet hip distance apart and parallel. Extend arms straight out, lengthen crown of the head toward ceiling, and pull navel toward spine to engage abdominals. Then gently hinge at hips so that your spine is on a slight forward diagonal. Press through the middle of your feet to activate the gluteal muscles and legs to stand up. Lower back down so that you are two inches from chair and then press through the feet to stand back up. Focus: This activates the gluteal muscles, warms up the body, and increases blood flow. Open clock stretch Repeat eight times on right and left sides. Begin by standing with your right side near a wall and the outside edge of your right foot approximately 12 inches from the wall. Check to make sure one foot isn’t in front of the other, keeping the feet aligned. Move right arm straight up and place palm of hand on wall. Keeping arm straight move palm of hand downward and back so that hand is level with shoulder and arm is parallel with floor. Soften tops of your shoulder, connect fingers to wall, and take eight deep inhales and exhales. Repeat on left side. Focus: This stretches pectoral muscles and opens shoulders, both of which get tight when doing office work. L to Y arms Repeat eight times and work up to 16 times Stand with feet 18 inches from wall, knees bent, and your back against the wall. Place your arms in an L shape against the wall with elbows directly out from your shoulders, wrists above the elbows and fingers spread. On an inhale, slide backs of your hands and fingers along wall to form a Y shape with your arms. On exhale return to L shape. Keep tops of shoulders soft. Focus: This activates the serratus anterior muscles, which are responsible for protracting and retracting shoulder blades. Half forward fold Take eight deep inhales and exhales then repeat. Stand facing wall and place your hands on wall shoulder distance apart and below your chest. Make sure your wrist creases are parallel to floor. Folding at your hips, walk back until arms are straight, the torso parallel to floor, and feet directly below hips. Keep your ears between your arms, move the crown of your head forward toward wall, press the posterior sitting bones toward the back space, and push your hands evenly onto wall to straighten arms. Bend your knees as much as needed to lengthen spine so that it is not rounded toward ceiling. Focus: This stretches hamstrings and lumbar spine. Axial Extension Repeat four times with right thumb and four times with left thumb. While standing, place your right thumb under your chin into divot of lower jaw. Keeping thumb stationary and eyes level with the horizon, gently pull your head back. Hold for five seconds and release. Focus: This activates the deep neck flexor muscles and multifidus muscles, which are a series of muscles attached to the spinal column. Deep neck flexor muscles help keep the head balanced on the torso instead of pulling forward while multifidus muscles help stabilize the entire spine from head to tailbone. Source: Jennifer Gorman, specialist trainer at West Loop, Chicago Athletic Clubs

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