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Easy Exercises to Prevent Pain

A great resolution is to re-establish good posture. Many chronic aches and pains begin with poor posture exacerbated by sitting and typing. An hourly posture check is the best way to begin to reverse this problem.

Stand up. Standing helps realign the head, shoulders, spine and hips and puts bones in a better position than sitting. It is even better to take a two-minute walk or climb the stairs a few times.

• Stand and sit and repeat. A basic squat can easily be done at a desk. Stand in front of your chair in your best posture, with feet hip-width apart and hands on hips. Aim your bottom to the chair to a slow count of five, tap the chair without actually sitting down and come back up quickly to a count of one, look up and lean back a little. Repeat 10 times.

• Loosen the spine. The thoracic spine is one of the stiffest areas of the body. Loosening this area can relieve neck, shoulder and back problems. Stand very tall and imagine looking a little higher than your sight line, with feet hip-width apart. Bend your elbows and touch your shoulders. Then slowly twist your upper body right and left. Repeat 10 to 20 times.

Dana Dowd, MSPT, is a physical therapist at Saint Luke Institute