Good posture is a very tricky thing to maintain. And it’s not just a modern problem that’s been brought on by the rise of smartphones and jobs that involve looking at a computer screen, the problem has always been around.
Desk jobs have existed for hundreds of years and people have always had to look down to read books and newspapers. And on top of that, standing or sitting up completely straight isn’t necessarily a comfortable position for all of us.
Once your body gets used to your slouch, it’s hard to fix it, but it’s definitely not impossible. Consistent exercise is important though you’re not going to get there just by deciding to stand up straight, you actually have to work on it with specific exercises.
Exercise For Fixing Posture Issues
Here’s 5 exercise that has proven to be very beneficial in fixing posture issues – The only thing you will need for this is a mat, a top, and pants – A set that can make a perfect Christmas gift – and you can start making changes:
There are actually a few different kinds of plank exercises. There’s a standard plank that everyone knows of course where you are bracing yourself on your forearms with your back straight and that does help build up your core and back muscles, which are important for posture.
But there is also a side plank. This one involves shifting your weight onto just one of your forearms and holding yourself in a position where your front is facing the wall instead of the ground.
This is especially helpful for people who have mild scoliosis because you are holding your spine in a neutral position while doing this exercise and building muscles necessary to maintain that neutrality.
Then you have the high plank, which is essentially the position you are in at the top of a push-up. Your palms are flat on the floor and your arms are extended. A straight back is essential too of course. Also a good exercise for the core that helps with balance too.
2. Wall Angel
One thing that can contribute to bad posture is the positioning of your shoulder blades. If a gap starts to form between them then your shoulders will naturally start to hunch forward and this will affect your neck too.
The wall angel is a good exercise to help you squeeze your shoulder blades together. You’ll need to stand with your back flat against a wall and bend your knees slightly. Stand with your feet a few inches from the wall but with your spine and hips resting against it.
Lift up your arms so that your upper arms are parallel to the floor and your palms are facing the opposite wall. Squeeze your shoulder blades together like this and hold it for about 5 seconds. Then extend your arms into a ‘Y’ shape and hold that for 5 seconds.
Repeat this about 10 times for one set and do maybe 5 sets of it total.
3. Hip Flexor Stretch
Everyone’s pelvis has a bit of a natural tilt to it and whether yours tilts forward or backwards, if it’s too far you are putting stress on your spine and also holding it in a position that’s not conducive to a good posture.
This hip flexor stretch will force you to hold your hips in the appropriate position so that you can get used to that. You’re getting down on one knee for this one. Start on your right knee with your toes down and your left foot flat on the floor.
Place both hands on your left thigh and stretch your hips forward until you feel a stretch in them. Then tilt backward and clench your abs, while making sure to keep your back straight and your chin parallel to the floor.
Hold this pose for 30 seconds and then switch to the opposite knee.
4. Downward Facing Dog
This is a pose that is most commonly associated with yoga, and while this might put some people off due to a lack of understanding as to what yoga actually is, it shouldn’t. Yoga is a great way to deal with posture issues.
The best way to achieve this pose is to start lying flat on your stomach and then tuck your toes under your feet and lift your heels. Pressing into your hands, lift your hips towards the ceiling. Make sure your spine is stretched to its full length.
Bend your knees a little if you need to reach this position. Make sure you keep pressing into your hands and keep your heels raised off the ground. Hold this pose for about a minute. It’s effective for the alignment of your spine. An easy thing for those who are experienced, yoga practitioners.
Also, read about: Back Pain? Correct Your Sleeping Posture
5. Shoulder Rolls
This one is going to be good for those aforementioned folks who spend a lot of time sitting at a desk and are looking down all the time and naturally slouching because of it. The benefit of a shoulder roll will help relieve the pain and tension you might feel from trying to correct your sitting posture.
You can actually do the exercise sitting or standing up and it’s a very simple one. Raise your shoulder blades while inhaling and hold them up close to your ears for about 5-10 seconds before exhaling while you let them drop.
Repeat this 10 times. This is an exercise that you should do a couple of times a day. Try and work it in when you are actually sitting down at your desk.
All of these are specific to different muscles and body positions, but it’s also beneficial to just build up your back strength overall. There are many intensive exercises which can help with that.
If you have time to work these into your routine then do that while also focusing on the specific muscles as outlined above. Do this and you will be able to hold a solid posture without having to actually focus on it.