Healthy posture form can make all the difference in the world when it comes to your health. How you carry yourself goes far beyond appearing tall and confident. Correct sitting and standing practices ensure your body functions properly.
When Your Posture is Good:
• You appear and feel better than you already do
• You prevent back aches, strains, muscle pains and headaches
• You reduce the wear and tear on your joints
• You build up your spine’s flexibility and strength
• You exert less energy on daily tasks as your muscles are being used efficiently
There are many things you can do on your own to improve your posture health. One of those is incorporating corrective strengthening and exercises into your fitness regime. Below, we have outlined 4 areas to focus on strengthening with links to the corresponding exercises.
Area 1: Strengthen Your Core:
A strong core (abdominals, lower back, obliques and hips) is the foundation for healthy posture. In addition to building your back’s resiliency, a strong core maintains your body upright, improves balance and allows you to move with greater control and efficiency. The top core exercises include:
–Basic crunches for rectus abdominals
–Side planks for obliques
–Standing side bends for obliques
–Plank hold for transverse abdominals
–Back extensions for lower back
–Crunches with a twist for abdominals and obliques
Area 2: Correct Rounded or Hunched Shoulders
Countless hours spent hunched over the computer, steering wheel, mobile devices or performing daily tasks lead to the postural abnormality of rounded shoulders. These types of forward-reaching behaviours tighten and shorten your chest, shoulders and hip muscles while weakening the muscles of your upper and middle back.
Strengthening the weak upper back muscles and stretching tight muscles in the chest, shoulders, lats and hips can greatly improve your posture overtime. As the upper back gains strength and the chest becomes more flexible, your shoulders naturally pull back. The top exercises to strengthen your upper back include:
Area 3: Improve Tilted Hips
Ideally, your hips should fall neutral and level. When people’s hips tilt forward, it is a postural issue known as anterior (forward) pelvic tilt. Pelvic tilts are commonly observed in people who sit all or most of the day and spend hours with their legs bent. This sedentary behavior causes weakness in the hamstrings, glutes and abs and tightness in the hip flexors and thighs. The top exercises to strengthen the hamstrings and glutes are:
-*All the aforementioned core exercises
–Bridges for hamstrings and glutes
–Leg curls with ball for glutes
–Single leg hamstring flexion with ball for both hamstrings and glutes
–Standing quad stretch for quads and hips
–Kneeling quad and hip stretch for quads
The Posture App!
In addition to utilizing the above exercises, you can also work on improving your posture with the Straighten Up Canada App. This FREE, easy-to-use posture program was developed by Canadian chiropractors and can be used virtually anywhere for just 3 minutes a day!
The app features 12 unique posture exercises, adult and youth exercise options, highly accessible image and video content, tracking functions, posture information and much more!
Kent, G. Exercises to Improve Your Posture: Stand Taller, Look 10 Pounds Thinner. Retrieved from: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_articles.asp?id=1407&page=3