Movement is medicine –
Stretching / personalized excercises
To make it easier on my fingers lol, I’ve attached an article below to explain what wall angels are all about – the same explanation Dr provided to me.
If readers recall, in part 3 we first commenced with floor angels to make it easier and slowly build on resistance.
At first I could only complete 3 out of the 9 set. Then as I worked on it with dedication and steadfastness, eventually I could do all 9 with no issue. So we moved ahead onto wall angels which is more challenging because it works against gravity.
Do you know anyone with “good posture”? We’ve all got some things to work on in regards to our posture.
Whether we sit at a desk most of the day, spend any time driving in the car, take even a minute to look down at our phones, chances are we do so with a rounded upper back, shoulders pulled forward, and head jutting in front. Envision someone with a hunchback, and there you have it. OUR day-to-day posture!
The Mayo Clinic defines “kyphosis” as “a forward rounding of the back”.
(This is exactly what I have as a result of my sleeping posture where the upper physique rounded)
While a clinical diagnosis of kyphosis can stem from congenital, neuromuscular, and/or degenerative factors (which we will not go into), did you know that poor posture, over time, can be considered postural kyphosis?
If you glance up at the illustration above, it’s obvious that the spine should have a natural curve up towards the top (thoracic area).
However, after decades of slouching and lack of proper strength training (specifically in the abdominals and back muscles), you can be poorly supported by that kyphotic spine seen above.
Make Friends With Wall Angels
After meeting with your physical therapist or personal trainer, you’ll probably have a solid stretching and strengthening plan for combating poor desk posture. While there are TONS of things you can do to correct postural kyphosis, one of my favorite exercises are wall angels. They sound so innocent, right? Just you wait and see…
Kidding. Sort of.
Stretch and Strengthen
I have a handful of my clients do this exercise before working out with me, but I should really make all of them do it. Heck, I should do them more often!
The first time I witnessed the torturous qualities beauties of this exercise was at the physical therapy clinic where I worked. Wall angels were given to most neck and shoulder patients, to simultaneously get the shoulder and back muscles stronger, as well as open up those tight chest muscles.
Now, Go Find a Wall
But first… remember that this is not your personal wall angel prescription. Only after consulting with your medical or health/fitness professional may you consider trying this!
To begin, plant yourself against a nice, roomy wall space. Elbows start at a 90 degree bend, with the elbows parallel to the ground.
Ideally, your heels would be as close to the wall as possible, while making sure (REALLY make sure) that your hips and entire spine are pressed into the wall. If you’re tight, walk the heels further away from the wall and even bend the knees (like a wall sit).
Hips, spine, shoulder blades…all against the wall!
Rear view. And you can see I’ve got some issues with my back and shoulders >> elevated left shoulder. Yikes!
To get to the stretch-and-strengthen part – although you might already feel some tension while holding the arms at 90 degrees – begin to straighten the arms directly overhead, trying to at least keep the elbows sliding up against the wall.
As you get stronger and looser, maybe the forearms and back of the hands will be able to stay in contact with the wall, as well.
Oh, and just like every exercise we go over on this site: keep your abs tight! That will help ensure that your spine stays against the wall.
Rear view, again! Feel the burn and stretch…
One Wall Angel Closer to Good Posture
Our spine is meant to have natural curves and arches, but over time, we can develop postural kyphosis: exaggerated rounding of the spine due to tightness and weakness in the upper body. And poor posture.
What causes postural kyphosis? In a nutshell, not using your muscles! In reality, much of our day-to-day activities can contribute: sitting with poor posture at the desk, poor posture while driving with the shoulders and neck hunched forward, poor posture while texting and looking at our phones.
By incorporating these wall angel exercises into our weekly routine of strength training and stretching, we can keep poor posture at bay.
As a side note: I’ve shared this article multiple times on Facebook, but figured it will be worth your while to see it, yet again, here on Hello to Fit: ‘Text neck’ is becoming an ‘epidemic’ and could wreck your spine.
The other 3 priority stretches incorporated are as follows:
To strengthen the muscles at the base of the skull. Stick your head front – but straight. Hold it few seconds, bring it back to neutral and hold again slightly 2 seconds.
After doing this one, it’s essential to follow it with the next to prevent possible spasms.
While standing, turn the head sidewards, look up into the furthest corner possible, stick your jaw out (don’t clench). Feel the tension release from the subocciptals.
Then bring both arms in front. Fingers close together, scooped up a little. Put them over your head – fingers should find themselves holding onto the base of the skull. Now pull down – feel the muscle stretch and spasms released.
Doing this one with a heat pack / cloth /shower works even better!
Another random one
This has nothing to do with neck, back or shoulders.
A hamstring stretch
Place your foot onto the bed. Knees straightened. Place the opposite hand sidewards onto the thigh. Feel the hamstrings pull under. Hold 30 seconds.
People are also trained to do this by standing and bending over, but it’s not advisable for me to bend and strain my chest over in such a position. Bending over for us restricts blood flow from and to the heart. This topic is discussed fully in The Dysautonomia Project book and will be touched on a later stage. God-willing
We are now pausing on transformative tips. This part is up to date with my last consultation and where I currently am…
Transformative tips because they’ve transformed my life for the better and I hope they do the same for you 💙
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