Honestly, how many times a day do you think about your posture? Some of us get so used to slouching we do not even realize we are doing it. While there are many down sides to slouching, including fatigue, pain in the neck and lower back, and an older, more feeble appearance, bad posture can also result in tightened pectoral muscles, or pecs, located in the chest.
When we slouch, our body tends to adapt to that position instead of fighting it. After awhile it becomes very difficult and even painful to unfurl ourselves from that hunched-over, caveman look. Our pec muscles become very tight, but not in a good way. Eventually scar tissue will form over the muscles, and nutrient-rich blood to flow to the muscles can become restricted.
These symptoms are most common in people who spend a lot of time sitting. Whether it be in front of the computer or in the car, we tend to relax our shoulders forward into a comfortable slouch that becomes habitual and unhealthy for the muscles. I recommend taking breaks at least once an hour when sitting for long periods of time, and practicing a few stretches. Even if you only do them twice a day, your muscles will surely thank you in the long run.
Below are a few simple pec stretches you can do almost anywhere!
1.Stand in front of a corner, about a foot away.
2.Lift your arms up so that your forearms are touching each wall.
3.Be sure to keep your elbows slightly lower than your shoulders.
4.Keeping your core tight, put your right foot up against the corner in front of you and lean forward slowly, until you feel a good stretch in your chest.
5.Hold the stretch for about 15 seconds, then slowly release.
6.Perform this about 2 to 3 times.
STANDING PEC STRETCH
1.In a standing position, lock your hands behind your back and keep your elbows straight.
2.Keep your shoulders back, opening up the chest wide for a good stretch.
3.Hold for about 15 seconds.
4.Turning your head upward, so your nose is to the air, increases this stretch.
WALL PEC STRETCH
2.Lift your arm up so that your elbow is slightly above your shoulder.
3.Place your opposite leg in front of you, bending slightly at the knee as you lean forward
4.Hold for about 15 seconds, or 3 to 5 breaths.