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Top 5 bad posture problems; How to solve the...

Byline: WORDS: ROSIE HOPEGOOD

We're all guilty of slouching.

Worryingly, slumpy shoulders can give us more than a sore back, and may have a negative impact on everything from digestion to stress levels. We spoke to top personal trainer Dominic Lee to get his tips...

1 MOBILE PHONE USAGE

Nowadays, we're all glued to our phones.

Whether calling, texting or catching up on social media, many of us spend far too much time on our mobiles. 'This head-forward posture can increase the strain on the muscles of the neck, which, over time, may result in pain in the shoulders and upper back,' says Dominic. 'Tech neck' is certainly not something to aspire to...

THE SOLUTION If cutting down or going hands-free isn't an option, hold your handset higher, so you aren't leaning over the screen. 'At the end of each day, stretch your neck,' says Dominic. Lean your head to each side, then back and forwards for 10 seconds.

2 STRESS SLUMP When you're sad or stressed, you hunch over. 'Our posture can have an effect on our emotions, thoughts and energy levels,' says Dominic. 'A slouched position may increase feelings of negativity and result in shallow breathing.' In the long term, stress can result in soreness and tension in the neck and shoulders.

THE SOLUTION Yoga and mindfulness as stress management techniques are popular - see if there are courses in your area. Next time you're feeling stressed or upset, concentrate on straightening your back, pushing your shoulders back and holding your head high. You may feel calmer and more in control.

3 CARRYING A HANDBAG

It's easy to end u everything but th that extra weight our posture. It ca be altered, as we balance. This co neck, and tensio It's easy to end up with a bag full of everything but the kitchen sink, but hauling that extra weight around plays havoc with our posture. It causes your natural gait to be altered, as well as throwing muscles off balance. This could lead to arthritis in the neck, and tension headaches.

THE SOLUTION Have a weekly cull of what's in your handbag. 'Switch your handbag carrying arm to avoid putting your body under long term strain,' says Dominic. 'And avoid carrying your bag in the crook of your arm, as this can encourage rounded shoulders, making your posture even worse.' It might not be the most glamorous sort of bag around, but a rucksack allows you to control the distribution of weight evenly across your back. Failing that, a messenger bag with a cross-body strap is a good option.

4 SITTING DOWN ALL DAY

If you work in an office, it's more than likely that you spend a long time at your desk. This can have a real effect on our health. 'Being at a desk all day can result in soft tissue changes, such as lengthened and weakened glutes, shortened hip flexors and an increased curvature to the upper back, all of which will lead to pain or discomfort,' says Dominic.

THE SOLUTION Try to limit the amount of time you are seated by taking regular breaks, stretching and walking around. Make sure you are positioned directly in front of your computer, so that your body is not subjected to unnecessary rotation, with both legs parallel and feet on the floor. 'Make sure you stretch out your chest muscles, hips and quadriceps, which typically shorten in a seated position,' says Dominic.

5 HIGH HEELS They might look pretty, but stilettoes have a negative impact on our bodies. 'Wearing high heels over a long period of time can cause shortening of the Achilles tendon,' explains Dominic. This can cause pain just above the heel, making walking or running unpleasant.

THE SOLUTION Try changing into flats for some of the day, so that your muscles and tendons have to stretch and work harder. 'Place the ball of your foot on the edge of a step, then slowly lower your heel to stretch your Achilles ROSIE WORDS: tendon,' says Dominic. Vary your shoes during the day and the week.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Jul 17, 2016
Words:679
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