How many hours per day do you sit in your chair and scroll through your phone? Or maybe your job requires constant sitting in the same position? Either way, you probably spend most of your time hunched over laptops or smartphones without thinking about the consequences. Funny videos, work meetings, or chatting with besties make us continue to watch, respond, and slouch. However, evolution didn’t prepare Homo Sapiens for a sedentary lifestyle. Therefore, bad posture can lead to back pain, muscle stress, and even increased risks of injuries. That’s why maintaining a good posture can positively affect the functioning of your body. Improved posture leads to a general awareness of your body’s needs and naturally enhances overall health. In case you desire to improve your posture you get two options: contact a physician. A professional physical therapist can help you build an individual program for posture improvement. Along with a therapist, you can also read this article and try out the top 6 effective exercises to improve posture today. This article also covers other exercises and tips for better posture.
What Is The Meaning Of Human Posture?
Before jumping into the best exercises to improve posture, you must understand why good posture is so important.
Remember your childhood and how your parents called you out for slouching. You then would stand straight but in a few minutes, the slouching got back again.
Parents are usually right but they are lousy at explanations and rarely clarify the reasons why good posture is so important.
Let’s start with the notion itself. Posture is the positioning of the body when you sit, stand, lie down, or perform different tasks (5).
Researchers have discovered that poor body positioning can cause various health issues, such as:
- neck and back pain
- difficulty during breathing
- poor balance
- heartburn (5).
If our parents had named at least two of the possible consequences to us then we could have started improving our posture a long time ago. Harvard Health also includes the possible connections between poor posture and sleep disturbances, fatigue, and mood disorders (1).
There is a logical explanation for this: neck and back pain caused by poor posture can interfere with our sleep. We can’t fall asleep when we feel pain.
Sleep disturbance may impair stability and emotional regulation (6). This leads to mood disorders or even depression.
As you can see the connections between poor posture and health problems are valid.
Thus, improving your posture is a necessary task.
What Exercises Can I Do To Improve My Posture?
Maintaining proper posture requires muscle strength, great balance, and joint motion. To your attention the top six exercises to improve your posture. The following movements promote muscle strength and flexibility.
The essential props you’ll need: a yoga mat, comfy clothes, shoes, and motivation to improve.
Exercise #1 Plank
Plank is one of the best core exercises to improve posture by strengthening muscles, core, back, shoulders, and hamstrings.
- Get down on your fours. Your hands should align with your shoulders and your knees should align with your hips.
- Lift your heels and straighten your legs. Your body should form a straight line.
- Keep your chest open and shoulders back.
- Hold in this position for 40–60 seconds (3).
Exercise#2 The New Crunch
This workout works the rectus abdominis, in other words, your six-pack muscle and obliques.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent, and feet flat on the floor.
- Press your low back into the floor.
- Put your hands behind your head.
- Strongly exhale, pull your navel in and up toward your spine.
- Curl your head and shoulders off the floor in slow motion.
- Hold for a few seconds and gently lower back down.
- Repeat three times (2).
Bridges are an excellent exercise that trains the gluteal and abdominal muscles. This relieves pain in the lower back:
- Lie on your back with bent knees and feet flat on the floor.
- Lift your hips by engaging your buttocks muscles and core.
- Keep your buttocks and lower back off the ground.
- Slowly lower back down to the starting position.
Exercise#4 Mountain Pose
Also called, Tadasana, a Mountain Pose, is a gentle position that can help promote posture. Mountain Pose centers on upright body alignment which benefits good posture.
- Stand on the floor with the feet hip-width apart.
- Spread your weight evenly through your feet.
- Gently rock forward and backward and keep a slight bend in your knees.
- Squeeze your thighs, and tilt your tailbone down.
- Drop your shoulders down and keep your chest forward.
- Let your arms fall to the sides of the body with your palms facing forward.
- Inhale and exhale slowly for a few breaths.
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Exercise#5 Cobra Pose
This workout focuses on the erector spinae (back muscles that extend your spine to prevent slouching) and low back muscles.
- Lie on your stomach with your palms flat on the floor.
- Extend your legs straight behind you, and press your feet into the floor.
- Exhale and pull your abdominal muscles in and up toward your spine.
- Lengthen out through your spine and gently lift your head and chest off the floor, using your back muscles.
- Do not press up by pushing down into your arms.
- Keep your hips on the floor, and gaze down at the floor to relax your neck muscles.
- Gently lower back down.
- Repeat three to six times, adding more as your lower back becomes stronger.
Exercise#6 Child’s Pose
Probably the most liked yoga pose because it’s simple, effective, and relaxing.
This yoga pose opens the hips and lengthens the lower back. People can use Child’s Pose as a regular stretching routine or a part of resting yoga practice.
- Get down on your hands and knees.
- Lean your body backward gently, keeping your hands spread at shoulder width before you.
- Lean back until your forehead touches the floor.
- Make a straight line with your arms and make sure your buttocks rest on your heels.
- Keep your arms straight and shoulders relaxed.
The following back exercises to improve posture can strengthen your core, release the pain in the lower back, and improve flexibility. You can also use these poses as a warm-up before your intense workout and cool down afterward.
Can I Correct My Posture At 60?
It’s never too late to begin. No matter how many years or even decades you slouched you still have big chances to fix the hunchback even when you’re senior. Before starting any physical activity, especially at an older age, it’s necessary to contact a physical therapist. The professional doctor can create a posture-improving routine especially for you based on your wellness state.
For now, you can check out these 5 effective exercises to improve posture for seniors:
Exercise#1 Spine Extensions
Spine extensions may improve your posture by putting the spine in a neutral position with a chin and shoulders back. This activity helps with chest flexibility which promotes better breathing and lung function.
- Sit with your arms at your sides.
- Then, sit as tall as you can while inhaling slowly.
- Exhale and relax. Repeat spine extensions 10-12 times.
Exercise#2 Arm Raises
Arm raises are a good activity that improves your rib flexibility to help you breathe easier. By doing the exercise, seniors increase their ability to lift their ribcage and return their shoulders to the proper position when they breathe.
- Sit or stand with your arms at your side.
- Lift your elbows and keep them parallel to the floor.
- Raise your arms, bring your shoulder blades together, and slowly inhale.
- Do 10-12 arm raise repetitions.
Exercise#3 Wall Tilts
Wall tilts focus on your lower back and help alleviate lower back pain.
- Stand with your back against a wall and your feet shoulder-width apart with your knees unlocked.
- Put one hand behind your back.
- Flatten your lower back to put pressure on your hand.
- Relax, and repeat the exercise 10-12 times.
Exercise#4 Shoulder Blade Squeezes
Shoulder blade squeezes is a simple exercise that allows you to keep your spine in a comfortable neutral position. It helps correct poor posture by placing your shoulders below your ears.
- Stand with your arms at your sides and find a neutral position for your spine and pelvis.
- Bring your shoulders back and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
- Hold for a few seconds, relax, and return to your starting position.
- Repeat the exercise 10-12 times.
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Exercise#6 Shoulder Circles
This activity helps correct your shoulder and rib cage flexibility. This exercise assists in bringing your spine into a straight, neutral position.
- Sit in a chair with your back straight.
- Gently raise your shoulders as if you’re trying to touch your ears with them.
- Slowly lower your shoulders.
- Do 10-12 repetitions of shoulder circles.
In case of any pain or discomfort during the movements, stop the activity and contact a specialist immediately.
What Are Stretches And Exercises I Can Do To Improve My Posture?
You already know the importance of exercise but what about stretching? The thing is, stretching is as essential as the exercises since it can improve the flexibility and range of motion in your joints.
With better flexibility, you can improve your performance in physical activity, increase muscle blood flow, decrease the risk of injuries, and enable your muscles to work effectively (4).
Stretching is beneficial to better posture because certain positions can relieve back pain and correct the imbalances in your body positioning.
Besides the above exercises, you can add up these two effective stretching movements to correct posture:
This is a resting exercise that can balance your whole body. It helps relieve back pain by strengthening your back muscles.
- Lie with your stomach on the floor, press into your hands as you tuck your toes under your feet.
- Gently lift your knees and hips.
- Bend your knees slightly and lengthen your spine.
- Ensure your ears are in line with your upper arms.
- Press firmly into your hands and slightly lift your heels.
- Hold in this pose for up to 1 minute.
Your personal hip opener that loosens up your spine, glutes, and hamstrings.
- Get down on your fours with your knees below your hips and your hands a tad in front of your shoulders.
- Bend your left knee and place it behind your left wrist with your left foot angled out to the right.
- Rest the outside of your left shin on the floor.
- Slide your right leg back, straighten your knee, and rest your thigh on the floor.
- Gently lower your torso down to rest on your inner left thigh with your extended arms.
- Hold this position for up to 1 minute.
- Slowly release the position by placing your hands back toward your hips and lifting your torso.
- Repeat on the right side.
How Can I Improve My Posture Techniques?
Besides exercises and stretching there are other efficient ways to improve posture. Good posture is important, therefore, trying out additional techniques will speed up your results.
Here is what you can do:
- Use a posture device: There are special braces or shirts that gently pull back your shoulders once you hunch or slouch.
- Stay active: Workouts, different kinds of sports or even strolling can contribute to correct posture and better wellness.
- Use devices carefully: Make sure that laptop screens and keyboards are at the right height to encourage healthful posture.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Extra weight can put stress on your muscles and pull the body out of alignment.
- Put on comfortable, low-heeled shoes with arch support. High-heeled shoes change a person’s center of gravity, which puts more stress on the joints and muscles.
Hence, the following techniques promote good posture and lifestyle choices. You can also use help from your friends and family by asking them to call you out when you slouch. This time you know it’s for good.
Good posture is not only the key to self-confidence but your award-winning way to enhance your overall being. With the correct posture, you release the pain in your muscles and back, improve circulation and flexibility, and lower stress on your joints.
In this article, you’ve discovered the top 6 effective exercises to improve posture today, 2 efficient stretching poses, and additional ways to correct posture.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 3 surprising risks of poor posture (2021, health.harvard.edu)
- 6 Exercises for Better Posture (2021, webmd.com)
- Exercises and tips for better posture (2022, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Stretching: Focus on flexibility (mayoclinic.org)
- Tips to improve posture (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Why sleep is essential for health (2023, medicalnewstoday.com)