Posture Perfect

STORY BY XALLY SALGADO

PHOTOS BY GIOVANNI CARDENAS

Ever been told by someone to stand up straight? Maybe it was a teacher who wanted you to get that oxygen flowing into your brain so you would concentrate or from a parent who simply didn’t like you slouching. Regardless of where the demand came from, as a normal human being, it’s difficult to practice sitting up straight all the time.

Cecilia Guerrero, kinesiology graduate student at CSULB, recommends taking breaks from sitting long periods of time to stretch out/open up the chest to reset your posture. Guerrero earned her Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology at CSULB and became a Certified Personal Trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine.

“You would really want to activate/strengthen the back muscles with exercises like a row, resistance band pull- aparts or Face pull,” Guerrero said. “And make sure to stretch the pecs and neck flexion muscles.”

Breaking habits is the most difficult part of improving your posture. Make these easy exercises a daily routine and you will see an improvement.

Getting Started:

First, find a straight, even wall, and place your heels, shoulders and head against it. If you have developed a double chin, you’ve done it correctly. Make sure you look straight ahead the entire time. Sometimes it helps to do it in front of a mirror, but it’s not mandatory. The following three exercises may be done as a set but must be repeated twice and up to three times a day. FYI, speed does not matter, but the technique does.

The Flying Swan:

As a starting point, you need to extend arms at a 45-degree angle away from hips. Then flap your arms upward 10 times, but most importantly do not detach heels, shoulders and head from the wall. It helps to pretend you’re a beautiful bird flapping your gorgeous long wings. Simple, right?

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Don’t Wanna Hear It:

The next exercise consists of you touching your ears with your palms. Again, start at a 45-degree angle away from your hips with your palms touching the wall and bring your forearms and palms towards you until you’ve successfully covered your ears.  Return palms and arms to original 45-degree starting position. Repeat 10 times.

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Climbing:

For the last exercise in this set, you will pretend to climb a ladder. The motion of climbing a ladder will only be with your arms because again, your heels, back and head will remain against the wall. Pretend to grab something high above and drag straight down. As one arm raises, the other is brought downwards. Repeat 10 times.

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Feeling extremely lazy and don’t want to stand? That’s okay, try these two:

Chin Tucks:

What are Chin Tucks? Chin Tucks are an efficient and easy exercise to help reduce a neck hump. During this exercise, sitting or standing, you will slowly stick out your head and scoop back like a chicken. As you scoop your head back, your neck shall elongate - hold for 5 seconds before releasing. Relax for a couple of seconds before repeating and do sets of two, twice a day.

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Taking it Back:

Round shoulders are reduced and improved by sitting or standing with your head, back, hands and arms against the wall as you pull your shoulders backward in a circular motion. You can do these 10 times for two sets and up to twice a day.

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