Poor posture can cause a host of different problems such as a potbelly, joint degeneration, spinal dysfunction, rounded shoulders, and back pain. On the flip side, good posture promotes balance, flexibility, and strength, reducing the stress on your ligaments and muscles while lessening your risk of injury.
To improve your posture, you must become aware of your body at all times, paying attention to how you stand, sit, and even lie down.
That might sound like it’s a lot of hard work, but changing habits of any kind takes effort. Both good and bad posture results from habits we form over time, so there is time to correct your spine and invest in a good posture that will reap lifelong benefits for your health.
Keep reading as we discuss a few great stretches and posture exercises that will put you on the path toward improving your posture.
This exercise is designed to stretch out your back, so you should feel your whole back lengthening and opening as you perform the movement. As a positive side effect, it can also release tension in your spine, glutes, and hamstrings.
To do this stretch correctly, stand straight and situate your feet so that your heels are slightly apart but your big toes are touching. Bend from the hips straight down toward the floor, allowing your torso to hang loose. Place your hands on the floor or use a block. If this is too much of a challenge, it’s okay — allow your body to hang forward as far as you’re able. Make sure to soften your hips, slightly bend your knees, and relax your spine. Hold this pose for one minute then repeat.
Similar to the Forward Fold, the Standing Cat-Cow loosens the muscles in your glutes, back, and hips.
To start, stand with your feet positioned hip-width apart and bend your knees slightly. Hold your hands out in front of you or rest them on your thighs. Stretch your neck forward, like a chicken, then tuck your chin in toward your chest. Next, round your spine like you’re a cow or a camel with a hump, look straight up, and lift your chest. Slowly, move your spine in the opposite direction, toward the floor. Take five breaths, return to a neutral spine, and repeat.
While the two exercises mentioned above stretch out your back and spine, the Chest Opener, as you’d expect, targets the chest. If you spend much of your time sitting or hunched over, your chest can take on a caved-in look. This exercise strengthens your chest, allowing your shoulders to roll back so you can stand straighter and taller.
To begin, stand with your feet positioned hip-width apart. Put your arms behind you and clasp your hands with your fingers interlaced. If you can’t reach your hands together, use a towel or exercise band to hold onto. Stand up as tall and straight as possible with your head, neck, and spine in a straight line. Look straight ahead in front of you and take a deep breath. As you inhale, lift your chest while pushing downward with your hands. Hold this pose while you take five deep breaths then relax. Repeat this movement 10 times.
This pose releases tension in your lower back and is especially helpful if you spend a lot of time in a sedentary position. The pose gets its name because, when done correctly, your body shape should look like an angry cobra preparing to strike.
First, set down a yoga mat and lie on your stomach with your feet hip-width apart. Point your toes down toward the floor and place your hands directly beneath your shoulders like you’re preparing to enter a push-up position. Next, look straight up and push up with your hands, lifting your torso straight up while keeping your hips on the floor. Lengthen your spine and bring your shoulder blades down and back. Hold this position while breathing deeply, return to the floor, and repeat.
This resting position lengthens and stretches your hamstrings, glutes, and spine. It’s one of the easiest exercises on this list, quickly releasing tension in your neck and lower back.
To begin, put your knees together and place them on the floor, then sit back on your heels. Bend forward from the hips and walk your hands forward. Your chest should be touching your knees. If comfortable, bring your forehead down to rest on the floor. Stretch your arms out above your head or bring them down to rest at your sides. Breathe deeply and hold for up to five minutes.
Sit at the front of your chair with your left ankle on top of your right knee. To maintain stability, move your right foot beneath the middle of your left shin rather than underneath the ankle. It might help to turn your right foot out for more support as you slowly bend forward at the hips, stretching the groin, hips, and lower spine. Repeat on the other side.
Sit with the arms in a goalpost-shaped position — elbows bent at 90 degrees. For this exercise, push your elbows behind you as if holding a marble between your shoulder blades. Holding this pose for around 10 seconds will work your spine and stretch the muscles in the front of your body.
Good posture keeps your spine in proper alignment and prevents chronic back, shoulder, and neck pain. Correcting your posture with poses, stretches, and exercises will also decrease overall wear and tear on the surfaces of your joints and prevent your bones and joints from settling into abnormal positions. Good posture is self-care, so start incorporating these exercises into your daily routine today.
BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.
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