These days, a daily routine might look as such: drive to work, with shoulders protracted, chest caved in, and a hump in the thoracic spine. At work, sit at your desks in the same position. On the drive home, mimic your morning commute posture, and to top it all off, slouch in front of the television at night. Its no wonder most of us show horrible thoracic spine mobility and that "hunched" over posture.
While it is understandable that you need to perform those daily tasks (except the television part), there are ways to overcome those posture inhibitors.
For one, we can stretch the muscles that become too tight from sitting all day long. Secondly, we can strengthen the opposing muscles to help "pull back" the shoulder blades.
Pectoralis major stretch(chest)- Stand at end of wall or in doorway facing perpendicular to wall. Place inside of bent arm on surface of wall. Position bent elbow shoulder height. Turn body away from positioned arm. Hold stretch for at least 15 seconds. Repeat with opposite arm.
Anterior Deltoid stretch(shoulder)- Sit on floor. Lean back and place hands flat on floor behind body slightly wider than shoulder width with fingers positioned away from body. Slide hips forward away from hands. Hold stretch for at least 15 seconds.
Barbell Row (strengthens rear deltoids)- Bend knees slightly and bend over bar with back straight, approximately horizontal to the floor. Grasp bar with wide overhand grip. Keeping upper arm perpendicular to torso, pull barbell up toward chest until upper arms are just beyond horizontal to the floor.
Dumbbell Reverse Flye (strengthens rear deltoids)- Grasp dumbbells to each side. Bend knees and bend over through hips with back flat and close to horizontal to the floor. Bend your elbows slightly and have your palms facing together. Raise upper arms to sides until elbows are shoulder height.
By adding these stretches and strength movements into your daily routine, you can fight against bad posture, and keep your shoulder, neck and back pain at bay!