If you find yourself unable to stand up perfectly straight and aren’t comfortable with what your slouch is communicating to the world, don’t fret: there are plenty of simple exercises that you can do to help correct your posture! As you would imagine, most of these exercises focus on strengthening your core and shoulders which directly affect your spine and therefore your posture.
Cure Your Posture
- Standing Side Bend: Stand with your feet aligned with your hips and touch your right palm to your right temple. Keeping your feet in place, slowly push your head to the left to stretch out the right side of your body. Hold this pose for a moment and gently return to the starting position, then repeat for the opposite side.
- Cobra Pose: Lie face down with your hands palm-down on the floor near your ribs. Your legs should be straight behind you with the tops of your feet resting on the floor. Let out a deep breath and stretch your abdominal muscles in and up toward your spine. Slowly raise your head off the floor followed by your shoulders and your chest. To do this, use only your back muscles; try not to use your arms to push yourself up. As you raise your head, keep looking down at the floor in order to fully relax your neck muscles. Slowly lower yourself back to the starting position and repeat. (Note: your hip bones should never leave the floor.)
- Standing Chest Expansion: Stand with your feet aligned with your hips and lace your fingers behind your back near your glutes. Keeping your arms as straight as you can without locking your elbows, raise your arms up until you feel a deep stretch. Slowly lower your arms back to the starting position and repeat.
- Plank: You’ll start by getting on the floor and into position like you’ll be doing pushups. Gently bend your elbows, which should be directly in line with your shoulders, until they’re at 90 degrees where your forearms are holding the bulk of your weight. Once you’re in the proper position your body should form a straight line from head to heels. Hold the position for as long as you can (which will be longer and longer every time you try) then gently lower yourself to the floor. You do not have to repeat.
- Spine Relaxer: Lie down on the floor and prop something under your head so that it is 2-3 inches (6-9 cm) off the ground. Bend your knees, which should be out slightly wider than your hips, until your feet can be flat on the floor. Keep your elbows on the floor and let your hands rest comfortably somewhere between your lower ribs and your hips. Try to stay in this position for at least 10 minutes so that you give your spine plenty of time to fully relax. You do not have to repeat. (Note: When you’re adjusting your head support, it should not be so high that your chin is pointing directly towards your chest.)
While you try your hand, or rather your core, at these exercises, remember to focus on taking deep breaths and to make slow, controlled movements. These two factors not only help you do the exercises correctly, but they’ll help you in building muscle memory which may be the biggest factor in helping your posture. Also, since bad posture is usually born at your desk, be sure to make a point to sit with your back against your chair, your feet flat on the floor, and most importantly, your eyes level with the center of your computer screen.
We know that correcting your posture may be just one of your many fitness goals. Regardless of what you’re trying to achieve, we here at Balance Fitness have the equipment and the personnel to help you achieve and surpass those goals. To learn more about how we can help you, give us a call in San Mateo at (650) 348-1259 or in Santa Clara at (408) 255-3010. You can also contact us online to ask any questions you may have or to set up a consultation!
Have a healthy month!