Practicing exercises for posture is really important because over time, poor posture takes a serious toll on your shoulders, spine, hips and knees. In fact, it can cause many structural flaws that lead to back and joint pain, reduced flexibility, and compromised muscles- all of which limit your ability to build strength and burn fat. Here are some easy exercises for posture that will help you stand tall and proud!
1. Strengthen Your Core
The most important exercises for posture that you can do are ones that strengthen your core. Your core muscles include your lower back, obliques and abdominals. These are the muscles that provide integrity in all your moments. It's vital that they're lean and strong in order to prevent injury, move fluidly and maintain flexibility. There are loads of targeted core exercises you can do but the very best one is the plank. The plank works literally your entire body, focusing on your core muscles for support.
2. Strengthen Your Traps and Shoulders
Your trapezius is the large diamond-shaped muscle along both sides of your upper and middle back. Proper posture means having a strong back to support your upright position without the rounding of your spine that causes slouching. Rowing exercises, push ups, and pull ups are all excellent for strengthening your shoulder and back muscles.
3. Sit/Stand with Shoulders Back and down
If you've had poor posture most of your life, stand against a wall with the surface of your entire backside touching the wall, eyes looking forward. This is what standing with good posture feels like. If it's a strain for you, remember that once your core and upper body muscles are strong and stable, you will be able to stand tall and straight without strain or fatigue. Use the wall method as a guide for whenever you sit and stand with your shoulders back and down.
4. Sleep with One Arm at Your Side or on Your Back
Have you ever thought that the way you position yourself during sleep may be impacting your posture? I know this to be true because it's affected me. I tend to sleep in a fetal position with both arms curled under my chin and my upper back rounding over them. While it's comfortable to sleep this way temporarily, it can cause a lot if strain on your neck and shoulders, making them tight and stiff. Your shoulders will be more inclined to round forward when they're tight. When sleeping, try placing one arm down your side, which will align your spine and straighten out your shoulders and upper back, or simply sleep on your back on a firm mattress.
5. Do Shoulder Raises
Shoulder raises are great for mobility and strength-building. Stand in a comfortable position and as you inhale, raise your shoulders and shoulder blades up towards your ears. Then exhale, pull your shoulder blades down and pinch them together. Repeat 5-10 times.
6. Do Cat and Cow Stretches
The Cat and Cow is a yoga stretch that loosens and flexes your spine. A flexible spine means a younger you and better posture! Begin with hands and knees in the floor, knees hip distance apart. Raise your head to the ceiling, flex your spine in and push your tail bone out. Then breathe out, tuck your chin to your chest, tail bone in, and curve your spine out.
7. Practice Yoga
Yoga is a good practice for stretching and adding strength to your core muscles. It also lengthens your joints, which helps with posture improvement. Practice yoga 2-3 times a week for optimal benefits.
Posture is something you don't really think about until you're in pain or you see someone else with poor posture and begin to question your own. Have you noticed any posture problems that you struggle with? What exercises have you found to be helpful?