One-arm doorframe stretch
This stretch provides relief of tension in your chest muscles and the front of your shoulders that come from slumping in a seated position.
Standing and facing an open doorway, place a forearm on the doorframe with your elbow bent to 90 degrees at shoulder height. Your upper arm should be parallel with the floor.
Rotate your body away from your arm until you feel a stretch in the front of your chest. Hold for three long, deep breaths, keeping your back neutral and lower ribs down. Repeat on the other side.
Supported windmill twist
This exercise relieves the upper-body rigidity caused by a static sitting posture.
Standing and facing a desk or counter, sit back slightly into a shallow squat position, then hinge from your hips to bend over and place your left forearm down on the desk or countertop.
Keeping your knees bent with your hips and low-back neutral, inhale as you reach your right arm forward and rotate from your shoulder, mid-back and rib cage to twist open to the right, reaching your hand upward. Hold for three breaths, using your respiration to facilitate the twist.
Focus your inhalations on the open side of your rib cage (the side you're turning to) and exhalations on the opposite side, where you can use side waist muscles to internally rotate your ribs and enable further rotation of your rib cage and mid back. Unwind and practice the rotation to the left from the same starting position with your right forearm down.
Wall Angels, also known as scapula (shoulder blade) wall slides work to strengthen your back muscles to counteract the overactive muscles in the front of your body that pull you into a slouched position while seated.
Stand with your back against a wall, keeping your feet hip distance about 6 to 8 inches from the wall. Bend your knees slightly to use some leverage from your legs and core to help push your entire back into the wall with your lower back as flat as possible. Rest the back of your head against the wall, directing your gaze forward.
Raise your arms up to shoulder height, bending your elbows to 90 degrees with your shoulders, elbows and backs of your hands against the wall. Inhale as you slide your hands and elbows up the wall until you start to feel like it's difficult to maintain the touch points of your back, head, shoulders, elbows and hands against the wall. Exhale as you slide your arms back to 90 degrees.
Repeat this motion through five long, deep breaths. With every exhale, concentrate on moving your lower ribs in, back and down while also pulling the base of your shoulder blades down.
This positional breathing exercise strengthens your diaphragm, core and glutes while releasing your hip flexors to establish an optimal rib cage and pelvis position for better overall posture.
Begin on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor, hip distance apart. Place a foam yoga block, foam roller or rolled towel between your legs to engage your inner thighs and avoid your hips externally rotating and knees splaying out. Place your hands on your lower ribs so you can feel them moving in and out horizontally with each phase of your breath.
You want to avoid upward movement of your rib cage while breathing, and you shouldn't feel any stress or tension in your jaw, neck or shoulders.
Exhale fully, drawing your lower ribs in toward each other, feeling your core turn on and your ribcage move downward. At the end of that exhale, without breathing in yet, tuck your tailbone, flattening your low back and lifting your hips approximately 3 or 4 inches off the floor.
Avoid arching your low back. Maintaining the bridge posture, inhale, trying to expand your ribs out to the sides.
Hold this position using the strength of your core and glutes, taking five long, deep breaths, focused on horizontal rib movement. Repeat for a total of two sets of five breaths.
Adding these simple exercises to your daily routine will help improve your posture, reduce neck pain and backaches and boost your overall health and wellness.