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  • Jocelyn Cohenour

Avoid the 'slouch'

People slouch. It's a fact. In the car, at the office, at a movie, sitting on the couch, most of us are constantly putting our shoulder joints into an anterior (forward) tilt. This puts added pressure on the muscles of the neck, shoulders, and upper back causing great tension. Here are a few simple (but effective) stretches to combat the slouch:

1. Open your pecs and anterior deltoids: Place your right forearm against a doorway with your elbow at the same level as your shoulder, gently turn to your left until you feel the front of your shoulder and chest stretch, and hold for 30 seconds; then repeat to the other side. If you can't feel this stretch you can also put both hands on a doorway and walk through the doorway--in this position with your hands behind you on the door you should feel the entire chest opening up.

2. Chest opener by relaxing: If you have a foam roller position it so your spine is against the roller with your head supported at one end, your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Turn your palms up to the sky and let them relax onto the floor. At first you may feel nothing, and that's ok, it's still working. Close your eyes and imagine the back of your shoulders falling to the floor. Hold this position and breathe for about 45 seconds to open your chest.

3. Stretch out your neck: Sit up tall on a chair with your ears shoulders and hips in a straight line. Try to drop your right ear to your shoulder and hold. Make sure you aren't rotating or leaning--your nose should still point forward and try to secure yourself to the chair with your left hand. Take 5 deep breaths then slowly turn your nose to your right shoulder (looking down at it), and hold. To come out this stretch slowly rotate back to your ear-shoulder position, then lift your head upright and repeat to the other side.

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