Improving your posture is more than a simple matter of remembering to sit up straight and keep your shoulders back. It’s about developing muscles that are strong and flexible and balanced so that your body wants to hold itself properly, whether you’re thinking about it or not.
You can’t “remind” yourself into good posture. You have to train for it.
Posture training is about strength and flexibility
Ergonomic products for posture can be helpful — in fact they can be critical if you’re stuck behind a desk all day — but exercise is even more important. Healthy, well-trained muscles give us the strength and endurance we need to maintain good posture for hours at a time no matter what we’re doing — whether we’re standing, walking, sitting, or performing physically demanding tasks.
Posture conditioning often arrives naturally as a byproduct of a good all-around fitness program, whether it’s general strength training, perfecting a sport, taking yoga classes, or even consistent daily walks. All of these are beneficial to our health, and when performed properly all can help to balance the stresses that negatively impact our posture — the weak muscles or the overly tight muscles or the stiff, inflexible joints.
But if you need to specifically target your posture, posture correction exercises have been proven to significantly relieve shoulder, mid back, and low back pain. Here are several to get you started.
Five simple posture training exercises
- Chin Tucks — These can be performed while sitting, standing, or lying on your back, although lying might be best in the beginning to help you perfect your form. To perform the exercise, simply tuck your chin toward your chest while keeping your shoulders relaxed and the back of your head aligned with your back. Performed properly, this exercise will give the appearance of a “double chin.” Hold for five seconds. Repeat ten times. Do the exercise one to three times per day.
- Shoulder Blade Squeezes — Simply bring your shoulder blades together while gently pushing your chest forward. Avoid arching your back, and keep your head stacked in a neutral position. Keep this position for five to ten seconds as if you are trying to hold a quarter between your shoulder blades. Repeat ten times. Do these exercises one to three times each day.
- Pelvic Tilts — Sit on the edge of a chair with your arms relaxed. Slowly arch your back as far as you comfortably can, then move it in the opposite direction as if tucking your tail. Repeat ten times in each direction. Perform the exercise one to three times per day.
- Shoulder Rolls — Bring your shoulders up toward your ears then relax them back and down. Perform ten to thirty times per day accompanied by deep breathing.
- Wall Sits — Stand with your back to a wall and your feet six to twelve inches away from it. Sit back against the wall so that your butt, mid back, back of shoulders, and head all make contact. This position combines many of the previous exercises, including chin tuck, shoulder blade squeeze, and pelvic tilt. Hold for up to sixty seconds. Perform one to three times per day.
These simple exercises will help to keep your posture aligned and can be performed without equipment at any time, almost anywhere. But products for posture conditioning can also be of great benefit for additional strength and flexibility exercises. You can’t go wrong by working more strength training and flexibility into your day!