07 Mar 2018

6 Exercises to Improve Posture

Health and Wellbeing AdviceFitness and workout advice

“Sit up straight!” “Stop slouching!” “Reconfigure your latissimus dorsi!” Okay, that last one might not be as common, but authority figures have been criticising our figure since school; or more how we align it.

Bad posture is endemic in kids who slump over desks at school and slump over Xboxes and mobile phones at home.

We adults aren’t much better. We slouch at work for 8 hours at a time; a great way to throw every bone, muscle and organ in our body out of whack. We slouch over dinner; a shocker for creating poor digestion.

Problem? Well yes, while less is generally said about posture when it comes to health, our spines might have something to say if they could. Spines are pretty important and you’ll soon know about it if you get chronic back pain; few things are worse.

So how can we fix bad posture? Here are 6 simple exercises to help you improve yours.

One: Planks

Yep, make like a bit of wood; that seems an easy enough place to start. If you’re unaware of planking, it was the subject of a rather silly internet craze (what internet craze isn’t?) a year or two ago whereby people photographed themselves planking in odd and exotic places.

You don’t need an odd or exotic place; just a flat one. Basically, a plank is the top of a push-up, arms straight, back straight, your body comfortably balanced on your hands and toes. You’re now a plank and someone could walk up to you and probably would if you actually led somewhere.

Hold that pose for 30 seconds and build to two or three minutes as your core strength grows.

Two: Back Extensions

“No!” I hear you cry, “I don’t want a longer back! It’ll make my legs look short!” Fortunately, back extensions will do nothing more than extend the life of your back.

Lie face down with your arms straight out like Superman or Superwoman. Now lift your shoulders off the ground as high as you can and feel the pull through your back. Hold for a few seconds. Relax. Do as many as you’re comfortable with – 10 to start – and build as your back strength builds.

Three: Shoulder Rolls

It’s a great exercise to do at your desk any time of day to relieve tension and relax your posture.

Simply take a deep breath, lift your shoulders as close to your ears as possible, let them whisper sweet nothings to each other for 5 seconds and then, as you exhale, roll your shoulders down and squeeze them together. Do 10 a day.

 Four: Seated Twists

A great exercise for office gossip, this one allows you to see what everyone around you is doing under the guise of posture enhancement.

While seated, exhale and grab the right arm of your chair. Twist to the right and breathe in and out twice. Return to the front. Repeat on the left side. Do about 10 on each side.

Five: Crunch With Twist

Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor, hands behind your head. Breathe out as you lift your right shoulder and twist to the left. Inhale as you flop gently back again. Do the same on the other side. Do 10 of each.

Six: Dumbbell Side Bends

A standing one to finish. If you don’t have dumbbells in your office drawer this exercise works equally well with antique hole punchers.

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart at your sides. Relax your shoulders and bend to the side one way then the other. Do at least 10 on each side.

And there you have it; six exercises to get your posture out of a bad attitude.

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