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Easy stretches to improve posture and relieve upper back strain

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Want a great stretch that will improve your posture?

In the demonstration video below, Krista Magnoli explains how to perform gentle stretches for the chest and arms. This helps improve posture and reduces the rounded shoulder posture we often see.

First, Cathy performs the pectoralis stretch up against the wall. One arm will stretch at a time and this should be felt in the front of the shoulder and in the chest muscles. A picture of the muscle group you are stretching will be shown on the video clip, as well. The arm is bent and not elevated past shoulder level, at a 90 degree angle. The entire forearm and palm of the hand stay resting on the wall as the body turns away from the wall until the stretch is felt in the front of the shoulder and chest muscles. Turning the body produces more of a stretch and is safer than just leaning forward into the stretch. This stretch should be held 15 to 30 seconds and repeated 3 times on each arm. Notice how Cathy keeps her chin tucked, not allowing her head to come forward.

This stretch can also be done while lying on a foam roller which Cathy does later in the video. She stretches her arms into a "T". This will produce the same pectoralis stretch she did against the wall. Cathy moves her arms up higher toward her ears to feel the stretch a little stronger and then moves her arms lower, which changes the intensity of the stretch. Again, this pectoralis or chest stretch helps to pull us out of a rounded shoulder and stand straighter.

Try this gentle stretch along with the postural exercises also seen in this video, to start improving your posture today! 

If you are interested in purachsing the full osteoporosis DVD contact the Physical Therapy Center.

Contributed by Krista Magnoli, PTA @ The Physical Therapy Center in West Palm Beach, FLorida.  

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