Since many of us spend so much more time hunched over our laptops, Ipads and cell phones, it’s easy to see why many younger adults are depicting the typical hunch back posture that you normally wouldn’t get until you are in your 80s or 90s. We are even starting to see this kyphotic, hunch posture in our kids!

Bad posture places excessive stress on your muscles and joints which can result in a tight, sore and stressed body. This can lead to back pain, neck pain, shoulder issues, headaches and other health issues and/or injuries.

We spend so much of our day in a forward rounded position, over stretching the muscles in the upper back. To counter act the effects of forward flexion, it is important to strengthen those overstretched muscles and stretch the shortened, tight muscles.  Fortunately, it only takes a few minutes to do some corrective exercises and stretches that will make a world of difference in how you look and feel!

supinearmpressescFloor Press

To perform a floor press, lie on your back. Extend your arms to the side with your palms facing up, keeping your shoulder joint in neutral position. Contract your abdominal muscles. Press the back of your arm/hand into the floor, squeezing your shoulder blades together slightly and hold for 2 seconds. Relax. Raise your arms about 4 inches and repeat. Continue raising your arms to various positions, pressing into the floor. Perform this exercise approx.10-15x total at various angles. You can also perform this exercise standing with your arms against a wall.

LowtraparmliftaProne Retraction and Arm Lifts

Lie on your stomach, stretch your arms straight out to the side.  Turn your thumbs up to the ceiling and then slowly lift your arms upwards.  Concentrate on pulling your shoulder blades together as you lift your arms straight up towards the ceiling/sky. Do 15-20 reps.

hands up tube pulls b“Hands Up!”

Wrap a tube around a pole and hold the handle in each hand.  Start with your arms outstretched in front of your body with your palms down.  Then slowly lift your arms backwards until they finish in the “Hands up!” position.  Do 15-20 reps.

PillowarchesPillow Stretch

This is one of my most favorite passive stretches to help someone improve common postural deviations.  Start by laying a few pillows on the floor or your bed. Lay over the pillows on your back so that the pillows are at the level of your shoulder blades and your head is resting. Allow your upper body to round over the pillows with your arms at your side. You should feel a stretch in your shoulders, chest and upper back. Hold for 30 seconds or more. Then extend your hands over your head and hold this position. Your head should be supported on the ball throughout the entire stretching sequence.  I like to hold this stretch for a long time – especially after a long day over the computer.

Last, it goes without saying that one of the best ways to improve your posture is to avoid sitting for extended periods of time. So set a timer on your computer and get up, walk around, stretch and move your body! That alone will dramatically improve your posture and the health of your body!

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan’

Note: As an avid Columbian reader, you can redeem a 2 week pass at her world-class training studio to help get you started.  Contact 360.574.7292 for more details. 

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Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan, holds a master's degree in exercise physiology and has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for more than 33 years. She has received numerous industry awards including 2010 CanFitPro International Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Fitness Director of the Year, 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year and 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year - Runner up. She is a fitness trainer, fitness columnist for various magazines and newspapers, author of five books and manuals including "Go For Fit - the Winning Way to Fat Loss" and "Fit over Forty" and the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver, the founder of WHY Racing Events & WHY Community, participates in various community fundraisers and can be found running, biking, or hiking around the community. Find more information at

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