Before you read another sentence, stop and check your posture.
Are you sitting up straight or leaning into the screen? Are your shoulders rolled forward? What about your head? Is it creeping closer to the screen with your chin jutting forward?
The computer hunchback has become an epidemic. Especially in those who spend a hours a day in front of a computer. This rounded back posture, a.k.a. postural kyphosis, shortens the muscles of your chest and neck. It also weakens and stretches the muscles in your shoulders and upper back.
Unlike other forms of kyphosis, like osteoporosis, postural kyphosis corrects itself when you lay face up on a flat surface. Fortunately, postural kyphosis can be reversed. With proper posture and exercises that strengthen the muscles of the back, you can ditch the computer hunchback.
Frequent breaks throughout your work day offer you a chance to check and correct your posture. During these break, you can also try these four desk-friendly moves to stretch the muscles of your chest and strengthen your back.
1) Seated Camel Pose
Place both hands palms down on the seat of the chair. Press down with your palms, pulling your shoulder blades down into your back pockets. At the same time, press your chest forward, from the heart, while looking upward.
2) Modified Down Dog
Standing in front of your chair or desk, place your feet hips width apart. Place your hands, palms down, on the desk or chair and step back about half a body length. Hinge at your hips, keeping your ribs pulled down and your back straight. Hold and breathe into your back.
This movement can be done either seated or standing. With a straight back, pull your ribs down and align your ears over your shoulders.
Maintaining this position, reach your arms up straight overhead. If you can, reach until your arms align with your ears. Don’t be surprised if this is difficult. We don’t often take the time to reach overhead, and our lack of overhead mobility will reflect this. Reach as much as you can while maintaining good posture.
Next, allow your arms to form a Y, then move to a T, and finally a W. Repeat three to five times.
4) Banded Pull-Apart
Maintaining the same posture as above, grasp a resistance band in both hands, with elbows tucked into your side, palms up. Keep your shoulder blades tucked into your back pockets and your rib cage down. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, pulling the band apart.
Try these four simple moves throughout your work day to combat the computer hunchback. Focus on stretching your chest, strengthening your back, and maintaining good posture throughout the day and you’ll have no need to worry about the damaging effects of postural kyphosis.