How are you sitting right now?

Stop! Don’t move. Take note of your posture exactly as you are right now. Chances are your head is leaning forward, your shoulders are rotated forward, and there’s a slight round in your back. And, what’s more, you’ve probably sitting like this hours, or ...you’re about to.

Why this posture is bad for you.

 This sedentary work life that has developed out of the technology-driven information age is wreaking havoc on your body. Typically, the shoulder is one of the most mobile joints in the human body, as it has the ability to abduct, adduct, rotate, move in front of and behind the torso, and move through a full 360 in the sagittal plane. However, when sitting in a slumped posture all day, certain muscles become tight, while others become loose and weak. Specifically, your spine gets out of alignment as your head (which is as heavy as a bowling ball!) leans forward, and your pectoral muscles (your chest) become accustomed to the rounded shoulder position, teaching them not to stretch very far anymore. In addition, your back muscles are rarely engaged, causing them to lose strength daily.

Over time, this repetitive rounded posture position becomes your body’s natural way of being. It’s very common to then experience neck pain, shoulder pain, and back pain. In fact, shoulder and back pain are two of the most common reasons Americans visit a musculoskeletal specialist.

Here is one exercise that helps improve the effects of poor posture.

Today we’re going to teach you one simple exercise that will help negate the negative effects of sitting all day: wall angels. Also known as scapular wall slide, wall angels help stretch your pectoral muscles and strengthen and align your back.

To do a wall angel:

You’ll want to stand against a wall, with your lower back, elbows, and hands on the wall. You’re going to feel like an air traffic controller, and move your arms in opposite L shapes against the wall.

Step 1: Fully extend your arms out to either side.

Step 2: Bring your arms down so your upper arms are close to your sides.

Step 3: Lift your arms up over your head.

Step 4: Repeat step 2, then start back at step 1.

There are 3 bones, 11 muscles, and over 4 tendons that come together to make the miraculous movements of your shoulder possible. To help keep them in great form and avoid long-term pain, practice wall angels twice a day.