Poor posture happens so gradually that it may be hard to notice you are starting to hunch over. But you may notice that you are starting to experience neck and back pain and stiffness. Fortunately, you can help correct your poor posture by doing these stretches and exercises shown below. Read on for details and instructions on how to properly do each stretch.
These simple stretches and exercises will help to improve your posture. Poor posture is more than likely the result of weak, stiff muscles, therefore stretching and strengthening are necessary for improving your posture. These posture stretches and exercises will help to strengthen and build your muscles and also release stress and tension from your back and neck, making it is easier to maintain good posture. The exercises focus on strengthening your core and your lower back muscles, which are the areas you need in order to have good posture.
When your posture starts to improve you will feel happier, more confident and alert, and overall more healthy. It all starts with good posture. Bad posture may make you feel tired, depressed, and unhappy, but nobody needs to feel like that!
We recommend that you engage in these posture stretches and exercises a few times a week for about 15 minutes per session, and consider incorporating them into your regular routine. Remind yourself to control your breathing, and to exhale firmly as you pull in your core muscles. Hold the stretches for at least 15 seconds, with slow, controlled movements. Make sure to use good form and to keep your back straight when possible. In addition to these stretches, wear a posture corrector to help train and strengthen your back muscles to remain upright.
After doing these stretches and exercises, it is recommended to practice good posture to maintain the benefits. Be aware of your posture when you are sitting standing, sleeping, etc. Here are 8 easy stretches to help improve your posture:
- Shoulder Rolls: First, stand in a comfortable, relaxed position. Take a breath in, and lift your shoulder upward toward your ears. When exhaling, let your shoulders roll back while pulling your shoulder blades together. Repeat 5-10 times. This is a good exercise to do when you are sitting for great amounts of time.
- Chest Release: Lift your arms up to shoulder height, have the palms of your hand facing forward. Take a deep breath in, on the exhale gradually push both hands slightly behind you, while squeezing your shoulder blades together.
- Pyramid: Start with your left foot behind you, having it flat on the floor. Make sure your hips are square. Put your hands behind your back, on the small of your back. Take a deep breath in, on the exhale lean forward from your hips, go as far down as you comfortably can, making sure to keep your back straight. Make sure to switch which leg is forward.
- Standing Forward Bend: Start with your feet a little more than shoulder-width apart. Interlace your fingers, with your palms facing the floor and your arms straightened behind you. Take a deep breath and on the exhale lean forward at the hips, bringing the top of your head towards the floor. While leaning forward, push your hands to the ceiling as well. Make sure to keep you back as straight as possible and only go as far as your body allows you to go. Slowing return back to standing position.
- Seated Elbow Grasp: Sit on the floor, and squeeze your shoulder blades together and slightly down so you can bring your arms behind your back. Grab your right elbow with your left hand, and your left elbow with your right hand. If you cannot reach that far, grabbing your forearm will serve the same purpose. Repeat by switching your hands and grabbing your left elbow first with your right hand.
- Shoulder Squeeze: While sitting on the floor, bring your shoulder blades down and back. Interlock your fingers behind your back with your palms facing the floor. Take a deep breath in, as you are exhaling start to slowly lift your arms up while squeezing your shoulder blades closer and closer together. Raise your arms as high as they will go.
- Seated Side Bend: While sitting in a yoga like position, rest your left hand flat on the floor. Making sure to keep your back straight, take your right hand and curve it up and over the top of your head, pointing your fingers to the ground. Stretch as far as you can, while still sitting up straight. Switch sides to your left side as well.
- Spine Stretch: Sit down with your legs straight out in front of you, toes pointed towards the ceiling. Sit up with your back straight. Take a deep breath in and while you are exhaling reach out straight in front of you. Make sure you are not reaching for your toes but straight out in front of you.
Want to learn exercises that go along with these stretches to help improve your posture? Try our 21 day posture challenge to start your journey towards a healthier you!