Do you spend all day hunched over at your desk? Are you looking to prolong your muscle and bone health, but you're not sure where to start? Don't be a slouching Susan — and listen to Los Angeles-based physical therapist Vivian Eisenstadt and craniosacral therapist Isabella Pilar for some of the most effective ways to elongate your spine and keep your vertebrae in top shape!
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Sit Up Straight
In this modern day, we are constantly hunched over our computers and phones, so it's extra important to learn how to sit up straight. Eisenstadt explains that in order to truly sit up straight you must "Sit with your legs shoulder length apart, with your heels even with the width of your hips. Keep your legs at 90 degrees at the knees and hips — in other words UNCROSS YOUR LEGS! You should have a small curve at the bottom of your back," she continues. "Slide your shoulders back without extending your mid-back and tuck your chin."
At first, you may feel a little robotic following these guidelines so specifically, but once you get the hang of it, sitting up straight will be second nature to you.
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In Los Angeles and other major cities around the world, we inevitably find ourselves stuck in traffic a great deal of the time. "Lean forward and shove your buttocks as far back as it will go. Lean your body back onto the chair over your hips. Keep the back of your seat relatively vertical versus reclined" for overall proper posture while driving, instructs Eisentadt. While her advice unfortunately won't magically make traffic go away, your body will thank you later.
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Hold in Your Abs
In other words, engage your core, always. "By holding in your abs before you move, your body will want to choose the correct muscles to perform the movement instead of always choosing your low back or neck, whether it's getting out of a chair, or walking through the mall", says Eisenstadt. If you're feeling like you need to strengthen your core, then find an exercise video on YouTube or a local cardio or strength training class in order to get those muscles working!
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Do you ever feel like a summer Santa Claus traipsing around with your satchels full of laundry and groceries? Instead of hunching over like our favorite jolly Christmas icon, "Take a wide stance, and bend from your knees and hips, versus leaning over from your low back", explains Eisenstadt. "Most low backs are weak areas for people because they sit all day and are easily injured." So take extra care and don't ho-ho-hold onto pain and strain in vulnerable parts of your body.
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