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Today I’m going to be talking about the Dowager’s hump and showing your some Dowager’s hump exercises to help alleviate the issue and improve your posture at the same time.

The video below would be the best way to see the exercises – but if you prefer to read – I’ve added some description and images underneath.

I really hope this helps.

What is the Dowager’s Hump?

The Dowager’s hump is the fatty deposit that lies on the base of the neck line, C7 and the top of your thoracic spine, T1.

You can see it pointed out below.

We’re ‘forward-moving’ creatures, and so we tend to get a little bit more round shouldered because we’re moving forward … we’re texting, we’re on computers, we’re reading, we’re driving. When you get very tight through your front line and through your chest, you can become a little bit round shouldered.

As we’re moving forward, the head moves forward and so the head is misplaced and it puts lots of stress on the neck and the shoulder line.

If we’re not careful, we end up like this (not attractive, I know 😮):

What sort of exercises do we need to rectify the Dowager’s hump?

We need to strengthen the back line.

We need to realign the neck line and the head.

And we need to open up the front line.

Be aware that there’s so much tension in this area, if we’re just an inch forward through the head line, it can put approximately an extra 10 pounds more force on the neck line. So, we really need to make sure that we are realigned in our posture.

First of all, I’m going to strengthen the backline, namely the rhomboid muscles which are located on your upper back and draw the shoulder blades together …

Exercise #1 – wide postion

We’re going to do a wide position, first of all.

If you have got a doorframe, you can do this with the forearms on the doorframe and you gently just lean into the doorframe:

Tip: Lean the whole body in, so you feel a stretch through the front of the chest – pec, minor and pec major.

Next, extend the arms up into a Y position, draw the navel to the spine, bend the knees slightly to release the lower back and ground into the floor with the feet.

Now – send the arms back -almost kissing the shoulder blades together. Hold it in place for 5 seconds – it’s deceptively strong. The video will explain more.

Exercise #2 – T-position

Next – Let’s go into a T.

Turn the palms to face the screen and bend through the knees, engaging the pelvic floor

Once again, kiss those shoulder blades together. Realign that neck lines. Take the arms back.

Where can you feel this again? Imagine the shoulder blades gently embracing, so the arms are pulled back slightly. Muscles work antagonistically together. As one muscle stretches, the other one is engaging. Hold it for 5-10 seconds and then relax. It’s deceptively strong!

Exercise #3 – W-position

Next – we’re going to do the “W”!

Turn the forearms to face the screen and gently engage the shoulder blades together. I always imagine angel wings – the arms are the wings and the shoulder blades is where the wings insert.

We want that part to be strong, so that when we’re moving the arms, we’re still strong in the body.

Hold for 30 seconds and then relax and repeat.

Next we’re going to work into a dumbwaiter.

Exercise #4 – dumb waiter

The palms should be up and the elbows underneath the shoulders.

Here we’re getting an external rotation at the top of the humeral head, so we’re stretching out the chest muscle that comes across the chest and inserts underneath the bicep.

Stretch the chest and externally rotate. Then hold for 10 seonds. You will feel that underneath your bicep, as you stretch it out where the insertion is.

Don’t hold any tension in the neck line as you release.

Here, we’re getting into the rhomboids and into the back. We’re creating tone into the back.

Do that twice more – externally rotate from the top of that humeral head. Really feel that stretch! Imagine your energy coming out through the crown of the skull.

Go through that same movement once more.

Do know that one arm is going to feel a little bit different. I can open out one arm more than the other. It doesn’t matter. – we’re all different!

If you work with a computer and mouse – you might be a little bit more internally rotated if your workstation isn’t perfectly in front of you.

Exercise #5 – neck retraction

Now we’re going to look at the position of the neck line.

Put your middle finger and your first finger on the nobbily bit, the top or the bottom of the neck. Over time, if the head is still forward, you do get that fatty deposit on the top. In the image below – I’m really exaggerating this.

When you look up – if you’re not careful, your posture doesn’t change. It looks so bad! And then it gets worse – the belly protrudes!

We need to rectify this.

Press into that C7.

Next, imagine somebody is in front of you and imagine they have got bad breath.

As they come towards you, press into C7 and neck retract.

Then, imagine they go away – and bring the neck back into line.

Repeat this multiple times.

It might help if someone records this for you? So you too can look like me above!  It’s the most unattractive exercise ever. So I apologize. But it works!

Keep finding that alignment and release.

How often should you do these Dowager’s hump exercises?

I would recommend a minimum of 3 times per week.

In an ideal world – you’d do this every day if time allows.

Just take 10 mins out from your day in front of a mirror and you’ll soon see a difference.

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As part of our new well being magazine, we’re going to be bringing you a regular meditation, courtesy of Amanda Penalver.

Amanda is a meditation expert and founder of True Rest®. Her work is devoted to challenging, inspiring & motivating her clients to live a more growth-full, rich & deeply fulfilling life.

True Rest® is a unique style of meditation that has evolved from 30 years of practice, study & teaching.

Amanda offers True Rest classes & guided meditations to uplift, restore, replenish & re-energise you to live on purpose, fully awake, fully embodied & deeply connected.

We’re delighted to be able to offer May’s free guided meditation for sleep for you below. It’s something Jo struggles with and has relied on Amanda’s meditations for a number of years to get her back to sleep.

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Deep, Peaceful Sleep

Use this meditation at bedtime or anytime your mind & body need a deeply nourishing & nurturing rest.

This deeply highly restorative meditation will also gently guide you back to sleep if you wake up in the middle of the night.

We hope you enjoy it.

Find out more about Amanda’s brilliant work at mandypenalver.com

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Hi! I’m Helen Gambarota and I am delighted to be joining Jo’s Weekly Workout Family to share my love of books with you. I’m a stay at home mum of 8 year old twins. Last year we completed our family when we welcomed our puppy, Roddy, into our home and hearts.

Pre-kids I had a varied career working in banking, legal and magazines before finally ending up as a Celebrity Manager for an animal rescue charity.

I am a total book nerd. An avid reader and a compulsive book buyer, although I do need to slow down on the book buying as there are piles of books all around the house. I started reviewing books on Instagram as @BestBookFoward almost 4 years ago and I love chatting about books and sharing my passion for reading.

Each month I’ll be bringing you my recommendation of a must-read book. I read a variety of genres so it could be anything from fiction, non-fiction, romance, historical fiction or a thriller and I really hope that you’ll enjoy each of them as much as I do.

If you’d like more book inspiration you can find my reviews on my Instagram account which is @BestBookForward, on Facebook or on my website bestbookforward.org

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

My first book recommendation for you is The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah, which is out now in hard back. Let me tell you a bit about the story, don’t worry I never drop spoilers.

The story is set in 1930s Texas, at the time of the Great Depression and the beginning of the Dust Bowl era. It is about a woman named Elsa who is struggling to keep herself and family alive on their farm as they are in the midst of the worst drought in their history.

Elsa is forced to make the impossible decision as to whether she will stay and fight for the land she loves or take her children on a difficult and dangerous journey to California where she hopes she will find a better life. She packs her things and sets off with her children, not knowing if she’ll see her family again and not knowing what lies ahead of them.

This is a really powerful, compelling and emotional read. At the time I read this, Texas were struggling through snow storms and Texans were again without heating and water so it felt like a timely reminder that we need to act now to save our planet.

It is story about love, sacrifice and discovering the best of ourselves at the worst of times.

Kristin started writing this book three years ago, and at that time she could have had no idea that in 2020 the world would be battling the Coronavirus pandemic. She writes:

“Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that the Great Depression would become so relevant in our modern lives, that I would see so many people out of work, in need and frightened for the future.”

History shows us how strong and resilient we are and that in the darkest of times there is always hope and kindness, which you will see shine through in The Four Winds.

I really hope you’ll enjoy reading The Four Winds as much as I did. I’ll be back next month with another recommendation for you.

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You can buy your copy from Amazon here, or from all good bookshops.

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Oops - it seems this content isn't available to you.

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We’re so excited to announce our brand new resident food contributor – Katie Bishop.

Katie won the Young Cook of Britain competition at the tender age of 14!  She travelled the world working as a chef and cemented her dream of becoming a professional food writer.

“It is not uncommon for me to be thinking about what I’m going to eat for supper while I’m still eating my lunch.”

She has now been a freelance food writer, editor, stylist and consultant for 20 years.  She works with magazines and publishers, writing books and editorial features, as well as making food look beautiful for photos. She also works in advertising and film, presents cookery demonstrations and appears on TV and radio.

We’re incredibly fortunate to have her contribute to our lifestyle magazine here at jotuffrey.com

Today – she introduces us to Banana, apple & honey flapjacks …

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Overview

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Time to cook: 60 minutes
This recipe makes: 16 flapjacks

If you’re trying to sneak some extra fruit in to your diet (or that of your children) without feeling too hard done by, then this recipe is for you. It’s an extremely easy and quick bake that will satisfy sweet cravings, without any added sugar – just honey. They’re flour-free too!

The banana and apple elements increase your fruit intake, whilst helping to bring the mixture together. The benefit being that you don’t need so much butter or sugar.

Feel free to mix it up a little – use what you can find in the cupboard! Dried apricots, cherries, cranberries, raisins or mixed dried fruit all work well. Poppy seeds are always a good addition to bakes and some chia would taste good too.

Katie says that you can use over-ripe bananas and apples – there’s nothing worse than food waste – this will help keep it down.

It’s good to experiment – try adding some finely grated orange or lemon zest to the mixture, before baking.

You can of course turn this into something slightly less healthy – by drizzling melted chocolate (white, milk or dark) over the top – we’ll let you decide on that.

So – let’s take a look at how to get these done!

Ingredients

50g butter, plus extra for greasing the tin
2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
3 tbsp honey
2 bananas
2 small eating apples
250g porridge oats
100g prunes
75g currants or raisins
75g mixed seeds (eg. pumpkin, sunflower, sesame & linseeds)

Let’s get cooking …

  1. Preheat the oven to 160˚C, gas mark 3 and grease a 20cm square tin.
  2. Melt the butter, peanut butter and honey into a small saucepan over a low heat. Stir the ingredients to combine.
  3. Whilst simmering, mash the banana and coarsely grate the unpeeled apple into a bowl (don’t worry about removing the core in advance, just grate around it).
  4. Mix the fruit into the melted butter mixture. Add 100ml hot water and stir.
  5. Add the oats to a large bowl. Add the prunes – snipping them up using scissors, to make pieces about the size of a plump raisin.
  6. Next, add the currants and seeds.
  7. Finally, mix in the banana mixture until everything is well coated. Simple so far?!
  8. It’s time to get baking next. Tip into the prepared tin and spread out to level the surface. Bake for 55 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Leave to cool in the tin for at least 2 hours, before turning out and cutting into squares. Enjoy with tea or coffee!

More about Katie

Katie will be back next month with something else delicious to try.

In the meantime, you can find out more about her at http://katiebishop.co.uk or follow her on Instagram at @ktbishopcooks

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