Vivian Grisogono

How can I stop hunching?

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Counteracting a stoop
Q: I’ve noticed that I’m tending to stoop, and my shoulders are drawing forwards, making me look hunched when I’m standing up. It’s most noticeable after I’ve been doing my work as a masseuse, which of course involves standing and leaning over for long periods. I’m quite tall and my posture has always been good up to now.
Female, 44 Oslo
A: As we go into middle age, it’s increasingly important to correct poor posture, whatever its cause. The simplest way to straighten the body out is to lie on your stomach for at least five minutes, whenever you can, for instance when you wake up or go to bed. The best exercise is to lie on your stomach on a flat firm surface, hands by your sides, and lift your head and shoulders up a little way, keeping your hands on the floor; bring your shoulder blades together gently, then lower your trunk back to the starting position. Try to do this 5-10 times, 2-3 times a day.

It’s also helpful to do shoulder exercises as often as possible, especially circling your arms to lift your hands up above your head and out to your sides. Backstroke swimming helps, and you can also do excellent exercises for the trunk using a Swiss exercise ball.

Of course you should try to avoid crooked or hunched posture, whatever you are doing. Don’t slouch, or curl up on a sofa or easy chair. when you use your computer, make sure your desk is arranged so that you can sit up straight and look slightly upwards at the screen. Don’t let your head jut forwards and downwards when you work at a desk. Don’t read in bed. Use only one soft pillow at night, rather than two or more. try to move around rather than being still in one position for long periods.