Long hours sitting behind a desk can lead to poor posture and associated problems such as stiff joints and back pain. But it’s never too late to enjoy the many benefits of better posture, like improved breathing, more energy and reduced joint or back pain.
7 ways to improve your posture
Ready to improve your back health? Here are 7 exercises you can do every day to help improve your posture. Go easy at first until you get used to the exercises. Aim to repeat each exercise several times, with a rest in between.
Always listen to your body when doing any of these exercises. If you feel pain, stop! Check with your doctor before starting an exercise program. If you find it easier to watch videos of stretches and exercises before trying them out, the Canadian Chiropractic Association has a great selection of videos designed to help you improve your posture.
1. Chest up
Lift your chest up as you inhale deeply. Keep your shoulders relaxed and avoid arching your back. Try to imagine a string pulling you up from the ceiling. Once you’ve lifted up, hold the position as you exhale slowly. You should feel relaxed but taller.
2. Chin tuck
This exercise helps strengthen your neck muscles. Start with your shoulders rolled back and down. Look straight ahead. Place 2 fingers on your chin and push gently to slightly tuck your chin and move your head back, creating a double chin. Hold for 3 to 5 seconds and then release.
3. Snow angel
Lie down on your back with your legs straight or slightly bent, whatever is more comfortable. Reach your arms overhead and move them up and down as if you’re making a “snow angel” on the floor. Make sure to reach up and out through the whole movement. Breathe in as you take your arms up and breathe out as you slowly move your arms back to your sides.
4. Doorway stretch
Stand in a doorway to do this exercise. Place your hands on each side of the doorframe so your forearms are parallel to the floor. Make sure your arms are bent and your fingers are pointing toward the ceiling. Then slowly lean your body forward, as your arms rest against the door frame, but don’t arch your back. Hold for 7 to 10 seconds. Relax, then repeat, this time doing a slight lunge with your legs, so your chest moves forward past the doorjamb. Hold again for 7 to 10 seconds.
Lie flat on your stomach with your arms up by your ears (like superman). Raise your right arm and your left leg a few inches off the ground and then slowly back down. Then raise your left arm and your right leg off the ground and slowly back down. Alternate left arm, right leg and right arm, left leg for 30 seconds. Don’t overarch your back and engage your abdominal muscles as you move to avoid hurting your back.
First, get on your hands and knees. Make sure your wrists are right underneath your shoulders and your knees are right underneath your hips. Move slowly throughout. Start by slowly moving your head down and rounding your back (like a cat) as if you want to look at your navel—breathe out as you move. Then, move your head to look up and gently arch your back (but not too much)—breathe in as you move.
Lie face down with your legs and back aligned, rest your weight on your your forearms and toes. Activate your abdominal muscles to hold your body as straight as possible. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat three times. For a gentler version, do this exercise with your knees on the floor.
Improved posture may take effort at first, but with practice, these exercises may help you to prevent joint and back pain, give you more energy for daily tasks, increase your spine’s flexibility, and help you look and feel better. Over time, you could add more exercise to your daily routine for even better overall health and wellness.
For more on this topic, visit:
Posture, neck stretching and shoulder stretching exercises
10 easy stretches for better posture
Take your posture from poor to perfect
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