Stop for a minute and ask how your shoulders feel. Tense? Knotted? Sore? You’re not alone! It’s the kind of thing you might not even notice until you stop to think about it.
Why does this happen? Consider all the time you spend each day with your shoulders hunched over while using your phone, typing on a computer, or driving. Those extended or frequent periods of tightening and rounding your shoulders can change their natural position and cause soreness.
The good news is that you can reverse this trend. We’ve looked into some simple exercises you can do every day to loosen up your shoulders. The great thing about these exercises is that they’re so easy: you can do them at home or at work, sitting or standing, and they don’t need any special equipment.
Our favorite is called the “wall angels” exercise, which helps reset your shoulders’ position and range of motion:
- Start by standing with your back against the wall and your arms out the the sides. You can also sit on the floor, if you prefer.
- Lift your arms up over your head so the backs of your hands are touching the wall. Bend your elbows at a 90 degree angle so your hands stick straight up.
- Slide your arms up and over your head, then lower them back down. You can raise them as high or low as you find comfortable–the important thing is to keep them on the wall.
- Repeat 10 times.
Give that one a shot and see if you don’t feel more relaxed afterwards. I tried it! At first, it didn’t feel like much was happening. After I did a few reps, however, I could feel my shoulders start to loosen up. As I got back to work after a full set, my shoulders felt heavenly.
There are other exercises you can try as well, like the shoulder squeeze. For that one, all you do is sit up straight and squeeze your shoulder blades together by drawing your shoulders back and down. Hold them in place for 10 seconds. Do 10 reps of this 3-4 times a day, and it can really help correct your posture and reduce shoulder slouching.
If you’re hoping to prevent shoulder problems in the first place, try to get into a few good habits. For instance, sit back in your seat instead of leaning forward. Also, stop crossing your legs (I’m so guilty of this one), since that can cause tension to build in your shoulders. If you work at a computer, make sure to keep the monitor at eye level, and the keyboard at a position that’s comfortable for your arms and wrists. Same goes for your phone: to avoid “text neck,” raise it up to eye level.
It also helps to simply get up and move every now and then. Staying hunched over doing one task for a long period is really hard on your shoulders. If you get up and take a break every now and then, you’ll give your muscles a chance to loosen up, literally.
We hope these simple exercises and tips take a load off of your shoulders. Do you have other tips for relaxing your shoulders or improving your posture?