Exercises That Help Improve Posture
Posture can strongly affect how we view the world and how others view us. Those with their back straight tend to be viewed as more confident, and feel that way. Those who slump their shoulders or keep their heads low tend to be seen as more vulnerable and negative, and their posture may be keeping them in a bad mood. Posture also contributes to spinal health. When left unchecked, improper posture can harm your spine, as you are positioning yourself in a way that puts more unnecessary stress to the spinal column.
With this in mind, it may seem obvious that we should pay more attention to how we position ourselves in our day-to-day life. But the constant sitting, leaning, and poor dieting of our office jobs can make poor posture difficult to notice. Luckily, there are several exercises to help improve your posture. Following a routine for these exercises can help your shoulders and back straighten out, improving your mood and spinal health.
Most exercises that help improve posture revolve around working out your core. Sit ups were the most common and well known core exercise for a while. In recent years, they have been modified by yoga teachers to prevent the body from being jerked around as much. Doing so helps reduce the risk of back pain. The Yoga Sit-Up is one such form where the motions are almost the same, except you are doing everything in slow motion.
Lie down with your legs straight, arms reaching over your head, and feet flexed. Breathe out in a strong exhale, and slowly roll up while lifting your arms off the floor. The slow roll up allows your vertebrae to roll up one at a time, until the upper half of your body is fully raised, then slowly put yourself back down on the floor. This exercises helps improve posture by working out the deeper core muscles in your waist area. These same muscles do a lot of the work in supporting your back.
Cobra Pose: Back Extension
For this exercise, lay flat on the floor with your stomach. The only raised part of your body should be your feet, since the top of your toes will be pressed against the floor. Breathe out, then pull the muscles in your abdomen in and up toward the spine. Raise your head slowly and take your chest off of the floor. Your back muscles should be the only ones used at this point. Try to avoid using your arms as support.
During this action, your hips should stay on the floor, and if the muscles in your neck feel strained, keeping your eyes on the floor should help them relax. Once you’ve reached your height limit, slowly lower your back down. This exercise helps your posture by improving the back muscles stopping you from slouching.
This is one of the more intense core workouts that help with posture, but that is because they help strengthen a large amount of muscles that support your spine. Primarily, your shoulder and back muscles will be getting a workout from planking. Think of the position you take when you are at the top of the pushup. Your legs are pulled out straight behind you, your hands are flat on the floor at shoulder level, and your toes are tucked forward. In this position, you must keep your abdominal muscles pulled in – this helps keep you in the proper position – and stare down at the floor.
Everybody has limits performing the planking exercise. Hold onto this posture until you start feeling too tired to do so, rest and then repeating for two to three more reps. If you are looking for more of a challenge, placing your forearms instead of your hands on the ground will provide. It is a difficult exercise, but with consistency it can go a long way in improving your posture.
Consistency is the key to seeing improvement from performing these workouts. Proper dieting, exercise, and awareness of your body are the primary focus when working to posture improvement. If you find yourself experiencing back pains even with improved posture, it may be caused by a deeper problem. Contact the Spine Institute for an appointment, we can provide a proper diagnosis for your pain.