Posture is extremely important and I have written about it several times before on the blog (Importance of Posture and Posture Exercises). Correct posture allows us to breathe more efficiently, decreases joint pain, improves circulation, and facilitates a healthy spine. Today we will focus on a postural exercise specifically for the upper body: wall slides.
Start by standing with your back against a wall. Try to get the back of your head to touch the wall without moving the rest of your body forward and without looking up at the ceiling. Your feet can be a foot or two away from the wall to help get your spine aligned.
Once you are able to get into this position, place the back of your hands against the wall and slowly slide them up the wall as if creating a snow angel. Only lift your arms as high as you can keeping your back, head, and hands on the wall. You may not be able to slide all the way up overhead at first and that's okay! It gives you something to work towards. You will most likely feel a stretch in the front of your chest, and you may feel some of the muscles in your mid back activating.
This exercise is great for everyone and allows us to see progress as our posture improves. Many patients I work with start out not even being able to get the back of their head to the wall, but they gradually improve with time and practice. As always, do not push into pain if the exercise is uncomfortable. Just do what you can to obtain the right position. Keep your neck relaxed and do not shrug your shoulders up towards your ears.
I do this exercise 2-3 times per week in the morning, performing about 10 wall slides each time. It is a great way to reset your body and remember what an upright posture feels like. I also do a couple during the day if I spend a lot of time on the computer or feel tight in my neck or shoulders.
In other news, a quick update on our new dog Miles. He is a champ in the car and entertains Cassie with daily tug-of-war games. I'm not sure how I feel about his posture in some of his sleeping positions, but as long as he's happy :)