My morning routine

Image courtesy of arztsamui at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of arztsamui at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You wake up. Get out of bed. Go to the bathroom/shower/toilet etc. You eat your breakfast. And then you go to work…

Does this sound like your daily morning routine?

Humans. We are creatures of habit… But the question is-  Is your  habit helping you?

What if I told you that all you need is a spare 10 minutes in the morning and you can improve your posture?

Think about it this way. 10 minutes a day, that’s 70 minutes a week, 280 minutes a month. That’s almost a solid 5 hours of pure exercise. Dedicate only 10 minutes each morning and notice the difference!

Create a habit of excellence. Start your day with your postural muscles primed by doing this morning routine.


 

The 9 steps in my morning routine:

I’ll be the first to admit, this is not an exhaustive list of exercises that will guaranty instant posture correction. It gives you a quick and simple strategy to target the main areas most people have difficulty with their posture. (Of course, if you like to go more in depth, this whole website is dedicated to that!)

 

1. Take a warm shower

Showers aren’t just for keeping clean. The heat from the warm water does an excellent job at relaxing your tight muscles. Whilst you are in there, why not do some exercises?

These simple (but effective) exercises are designed to loosen up your neck and shoulder region.

// Neck rolls

  • Repeat 10 times to each side.

Video from RehabMyPatient.

// Lateral neck bend

  • Repeat 10 times to each side.

Video from Ryan Kennedy.

// Neck retraction

  • Repeat 10 times.

Video from Ryan Kennedy.

// Shoulder circular shrug

  • Repeat 20 times.

Video from MyPhysioRehab.

If you are not keen on taking a shower in the morning for whatever reason, consider using other forms of heating such as hot packs and/or deep heat cream.

2. Posterior line stretch

Posterior line stretch

Sit down. With your hands inter clasped behind your neck, slowly bend your neck and back forward. Aim to feel a deep stretch between the neck and lower back region. Hold this stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds.

This stretch will relax the postural muscles which work very hard when  you sit for long periods at a time.

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Some people like to do a similar stretch whilst standing… but to be honest, I am not a big fan of it. Why? This position usually places a lot of stress through your lower back, especially if you have any disc bulges. So, unless you know you can do it without causing any damage, don’t do it!

 

 

3. Torso stretches

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Twist your body from side to side. Repeat 5 times.

Occasionally, you may feel a few cracks/pops in your spine. Do not be alarmed. It is just the release of your tight joints. If anything – be glad that they are now loosened up!

 

 

4. Pelvic tilting

pelvictilting

Whilst in the crawling position (as above), transition from rounding and flattening your back. Repeat 20 times.

 

5. Chest stretch

Chest stretch

Place both arms on a door frame. Lunge forward. Feel the stretch across your chest muscles.

You can play around with the position of your hands to get a different feel in the stretch. Try them all. See which one you can feel the most.

Hold for at least 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.

 

6. Side stretch

Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

With your arm in the air, bend to the side of your body. You should aim to feel a stretch to the side of your torso.

Alternate between sides. Repeat 10 times each.

 

7. Hip flexor stretch

hip flexor stretch

 

Assume the position as above. You should feel a deep stretch at the front of your hip of the leg that is at the back. Hold for a minimum of 60 seconds. Don’t forget to do the stretch on the other side as well!

 

8. Glute activation

… Also referred to as “waking up your butt muscles”. The amount of sitting that you are doing on a daily basis is likely causing your butt muscles to weaken (… which can affect your posture!). Since a majority of us have weak or inhibited glutes, I have dedicated a whole post on it. Check it out over here: Is sitting destroying your butt muscles?

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Start in the 4 point kneel position. Lift opposite arm and leg at the same time (see above). Aim to hold for 5 seconds and repeat 15 times on each side.

NOTE: You MUST aim to feel the butt muscles contract in order for this exercise to be helpful.

9. Posture control

shoulder retraction

This is a yoga position called the Utkatasana. It has a direct translation of “Powerful posture”. (…with a name like that, it must be good for your posture!)

It activates and strengthens all your postural muscles… the very same muscles that you should be using whilst sitting down at work all day. Stronger your postural muscles, the better your posture will be!

Key points with Utkatasane:

  • Keep your back straight. Do not puff your chest out.
  • Lean forward at the hip. (The more you lean forward, the harder this exercise will be.)
  • Keep your arms in line with your body.
  • Remain lengthened through the spine. (Imagine someone gently pulling your head upwards.)
  • Hold this position for as long as you can tolerate.

 


 

There we have it! These are the 9 steps involved in my daily morning routine to help prevent my posture muscles from becoming tight . Give it a go! See and feel the difference it can make in your posture.

Any questions? Please feel free to contact me at anytime. I’m here to help!

About

I am a physiotherapist who has personally experienced the pain as a result of bad posture. I would like to offer you some of the solutions that I and my patients have greatly benefited from.

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4 thoughts on “My morning routine

  1. Hi mark, i was suffering from this annoying shoulder pain for almost 3 months and thanks to your exercises am much better now.I can go back to work with your helpful direction how to set up your work station.

    Once again thanks a lot

    Zaynah

  2. Thanks so much Mark. I was thrown off a horse in my 30’s and as a result have a tendency to flare up my right shoulder complex. I’ve been aware that my flare ups are posture related. NO ONE has been as helpful as your print out “Shoulder Blade Pain: 10 Steps to get Rid of It” Totally wonderful. You are truly a God send for me. I can stop running to chiropractors, doctors, PT ‘s as this exercise program has nipped my symptoms. I’ve worked in geriatric rehab for 35 years and have bits and pieces of info but NOTHING like what you set up!!!!! I will be signing up for your email, hoping this is not given out so I get more emails from who knows who. Thanks so much!!!
    Linda

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