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Prevent muscle aches from sitting too much

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Summer fun has ended and it is time to get back in gear for the start of the new school year!

A little tip to remember when getting back to school is to watch your posture. Prolonged sitting in uncomfortable desks is something that students have not done all summer and now they will begin to sit for hours each day. It is important to try to maintain proper posture while sitting in class to avoid muscle fatigue and research even shows it even improves concentration.excercises to improve posture from sitting too long

My little brother will be a junior this year and has told me that he has several science lab classes, which means sitting on stools with no backs. I remember how uncomfortable this type of sitting was and how difficult it was to sit up straight. The best advice I could give him as a Physical Therapist is to sit up straight or stand as much as possible when in these types of classes. 

I showed him a simple posture exercise to re-adjust his position every 20 minutes to prevent muscle fatigue and slouching. The exercise is as simple as squeezing the shoulder blades and holding 5 seconds, and repeating this about 10 times. We call this scapular retraction in physical therapy and it helps with reducing a forward head and rounded shoulder posture, which can lead to pain and even scoliosis (abnormal curvature of the spine) over time. Here is a picture of this simple posture exercise that anyone can perform.

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

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