Good posture is about more than standing up straight. It affects your whole body — your joints, your muscles, your breathing and even your digestion. Over time, slouching at your desk and not using your full range of motion can contribute to poor posture. Regularly doing exercises for better posture builds a stronger foundation and better alignment for improved health.
Anyone can do these five posture exercises for improved strength, flexibility and function. Best of all, they don’t require any equipment, they don’t cost anything and they can be done in the privacy of your home.
Do these lying down on your back, with your feet flat on the floor. Start with your arms extended into the shape of a T with your palms up. Slide your arms up over your head, then all the way down to your sides. Don’t push through pain; it may take several weeks for your flexibility to improve enough for you to do the full exercise. Do two sets of 10 to improve mobility in your shoulders.
Sitting too much tightens chest muscles and weakens upper back muscles. This exercise is a great counter to those problems. Lie on your stomach, with your arms overhead in a Y position. Slowly raise your head, arms and chest off the ground and hold until a count of three. Release back down, and repeat for a set of 10. Do three sets. For an advanced version, lift your toes off the ground while raising your arms.
Start sitting down with your feet flat on the floor. Lean back slightly and raise your shins parallel to the ground. At the same time, lightly hold the backs of your thighs. Hold for a count of five; do 10 reps.
For a more advanced move, straighten your legs and hold your arms straight in front, with your palms facing each other. To make it even more challenging, straighten your legs and raise your arms overhead to make a V with your body.
Do this stretch to loosen tight chest muscles. While standing straight up, raise your arms out to a T with your palms facing forward, slightly below shoulder level. Then stretch by exhaling and flexing your wrists backward, so your fingers point behind you slightly. Hold for three breaths. Do three reps.
This posture exercise is great for working several muscles in your shoulders, back and abdomen all at once. The plank is basically holding the top of a push up, eyes facing down. Your body should make a straight line from your shoulders to your heels. Balance your weight between your hands and feet, and don’t let your hips sag. Your arms should be straight under your shoulders. If this is hard on your wrists, you can drop to your elbows without sacrificing results. Hold for 30 seconds, and gradually build up to one minute or longer. Do three sets.
These exercises for better posture are great to improve your strength, flexibility and balance. They also make you more aware of your body’s alignment, so you can make adjustments during your workout and through the day for better posture.
Advice or recommendations are for informational or educational purposes only, not a substitute for a visit or consultation with your doctor.
Get more information about specific health terms, topics and conditions to better manage your health on bcbst.com. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee members can access wellness-related discounts on fitness products, gym memberships, healthy eating and more through Blue365®. BCBST members can also find tools and resources to help improve health and well-being by logging into BlueAccess and going to the Managing Your Health tab.