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7 Best Exercises to Improve Posture to Prevent Pain & Injuries

by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN

One common problem that affects many people is poor posture. While most people are not even aware of their bad posture, it does have a negative impact on their body in more ways than one.

By implementing good posture habits, you’ll immediately feel better about the way you look. Here are seven simple but effective exercises that can be performed in a short time span that can help you improve your posture.

1.      Child’s Pose

This exercise stretches out your chest muscles and spine while also strengthening your core muscles.

To perform this exercise:

  • Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Bend forward from the hips so that your torso rests between your thighs and bring your forehead to rest on the ground in front of you (or place a pillow or blanket between your face and the floor).
  • Place your hands on either side of your head or extend them straight out behind you for added support if needed.
  • Hold for three minutes or longer if comfortable — keeping a straight back throughout this exercise will help strengthen back muscles as well as improve posture by strengthening thoracic extensor muscles (the ones that lift up from the rib cage) as well as spinal extensor muscles that support proper spinal alignment).

2.      Chin Tuck

One of the best exercises to correct forward head posture is known as a chin tuck. This exercise is simple to perform but difficult to master. It may take some time before you are able to do it correctly and effectively, but with practice, it will become second nature.

To perform this exercise:

  • Sit up tall in a chair with your hands resting on your thighs.
  • Gently push your chin toward your chest while keeping your elbows straight at all times during the exercise.
  • Hold this position for 15 seconds and repeat three times.

3.      Forward Fold

Forward folds are great for improving your posture because they help you to lengthen your back, which is the main cause of poor posture. Forward folds also help to realign the spine and strengthen the muscles that support your back.

To perform this exercise:

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees soft, and arms by sides.
  • Hinge forward at hips until hands touch ground, then walk hands out in front of the body, so they land under feet (or as close as possible).
  • Walk palms together and hold for several breaths before returning to starting position.

4.      Back Claps

This exercise will help to improve your posture and strengthen your core.

To perform this exercise:

  • Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointing forward.
  • Place your hands on your hips and flatten your back against the wall.
  • Bend forward at the hips and touch the floor with your fingertips.
  • Then raise yourself up by pushing off the floor with your hands as if you were clapping for someone behind you.
  • As you come up, squeeze your glutes, and stand tall before repeating.

5.      Cat Cow

This exercise stretches your back and neck muscles, improves spinal mobility, and helps you maintain good posture.

To perform this exercise:

  • Lie on your stomach with your face towards the floor and hands under your shoulders with palms down.
  • Tilt your head back so that you’re looking up at the ceiling.
  • Then arch your back up towards the ceiling by lifting your head, chest, and shoulders off the ground while squeezing your glutes together.
  • Hold this position for three seconds before returning to a neutral spine and repeating 10 times.

6.      High Plank

The high plank is a classic exercise that can help you improve your posture. It’s also a great way to strengthen and tone your core muscles.

To perform this exercise:

  • Get in a push-up position, but lift your hips up into the air instead of lowering yourself down to the ground, keeping your legs straight and feet together.
  • Hold for 30 seconds before lowering back down to the start position.
  • Do three sets of 10 repetitions on each side.

7.      Pigeon Pose

Pigeon pose is a great exercise to help improve your posture. This exercise can make your hips, back, and shoulders feel much more relaxed after doing it.

To perform this exercise:

  • Start by kneeling on the floor with both knees bent and feet together. If you are a beginner or just want to take it easy, you can keep your knees on the floor. If you want a challenge, raise your right knee up and place it on top of your left thigh.
  • Then raise your left leg straight behind you so that both legs are completely parallel to the ground.
  • Finally, lean forward until your chest rests on your right thigh and hold this position for 30 seconds before switching sides.

 

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