We all want to look healthy and make a good impression, but with a year of staying at home hunched over laptops and slumped down on sofas with only a little walking, our bodies have lost some of their stature. In England, lockdown is beginning to be lifted as the days become warmer and the successful vaccine programme takes its effects on infections. Now is the time to start undoing some of the negative impacts of remote working and returning our natural posture.
Arnold Schwarzenegger has two suggested daily activities that will significantly impact how we look, and probably how we feel as a result; stomach vacumes to build the muscles that hold in our stomachs and wall stands to straighten out our bodies and stand tall.
Arnold suggests we spend five minutes daily standing with our back to a wall. Your feet should be a couple of inches away from the wall, you should stand tall imagining a cord being pulled up from the crown of your head, and you should have three points of contact with the wall; bum, shoulders, and head. I like to put my B&W PX7’s on and enjoy a 5-minute track while my muscles stretch back into position.
Most of us have weak stomach muscles from lots of sitting around and from under-exercising them. Try three sets of 15 seconds stomach vacumes. To perform a stomach vacuum, pull in your belly button as far back towards your spin as possible and hold it there for 15 seconds. You may find bending over slightly and resting your hands on a table helps you get into the position and hold the vacuum for longer.
Arnold also recommends 200 crunches first thing in the morning.
I find that dead hanging from a bar for 30 seconds works great to undo my poor sitting posture too. I do my first 30 seconds after exercise in the morning, the second when I break for lunch, and the third as I finish up working at the end of the day. You can learn more about the benefits of the dead-hang from my post on shoulder health.
These three exercises performed daily will have a noticeable difference in the way you look and feel in just a couple of weeks. You will stand straighter, have a flatter belly, and healthier shoulders.