Your posture can affect not only how you hold yourself but your overall health as well. It helps prevent injuries as you work out and allows you to have better balance. It results in a greater range of motion and reduces chronic pain, too.
If the way you’re holding yourself isn’t quite how you want it to be, here are seven exercises to improve your posture.
Using an open doorway, place your right forearm against the upright doorway with your arms bent and your biceps held parallel to the floor. Once in this position, lean forward to allow tension to build in the right side of your chest. Do this for about 10 seconds, then repeat 3-5 times before switching to your left side.
A good deal of back pain is actually due to bunched up muscles in the chest. When we slouch, the muscles in our back become strained and our chest muscles become tight.
With this exercise, you can loosen up those muscles, allowing you to achieve better posture easily.
Place your forearms on the floor with your body aligned in a straight line to where you are balanced on your toes. Hold yourself in the plank position for 30 seconds to 1 minute and then relax.
Repeat this exercise 3-5 times. If you have difficulty with this position, you can modify it by going to your knees rather than your toes.
Building up your core is an important part of improving your posture and planks are excellent for developing greater core strength. Also, once you have become comfortable with the plank, you can try other plank positions so you can keep building up your core and overall posture.
Dumbbell Side Bend
With a dumbbell on each of your hands and standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, bend toward your left side. Then, come back to the center position before bending to the right side. Continue to alternate between sides for about 10 times.
This movement focuses more on building up your obliques. As your side muscles are developed, it will be easier to maintain good posture. Also, this exercise can help loosen the tension which has become built up in your back due to previously poor posture.
Start by lying on your stomach with your hands outstretched in front of you. Then, raise both your arms and legs as high as you can. Hold the raised, extended position for 30 seconds before you release. Repeat the exercise 3 to 5 times.
By doing this exercise, you can help elongate your spine, switching between the flat position and the flexed position.
This exercise is simply performed by tucking your chin in until it touches your chest. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds before releasing. Repeat 3-5 times to help release the tension that builds in the neck, shoulders, and upper back with bad posture.
As you perform this movement, you will feel tension running from the back of your head to around your shoulder blades. You can easily do this exercise while at work to help alleviate some of the tension in your upper body.
Hip Flexor Stretch
Kneel down on your left knee, with your right leg in a 90-degree position. Brace your hands on your right thigh, then press with your hips forward until you feel a comfortable pressure in your hips.
Make sure that your upper body is held upright with your abdominal muscles flexed to maximize this posture-fixing exercise. Hold the hip flexor stretch for 30 seconds before relaxing and switching sides.
Office workers and those who need to sit for long periods of time can really benefit from this exercise. It targets the lower core muscles and can help loosen up tension which builds up while sitting.
Shoulder Dumbbell Shrugs
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and a pair of dumbbells in your hands by your sides. Make sure that your shoulders are relaxed. Then, raise your shoulders up in a shrug motion, hold it for a few seconds, then lower your shoulders back into a neutral position.
This exercise can help build up the muscle in your shoulders, chest, and upper back, allowing you to more naturally have better posture.
By doing these various posture-strengthening exercises, you can start enjoying better posture.