Posture simply means the position of your body when standing, sitting, or lying down. Many people tend to develop bad body postures as they grow up; and while a bad posture is barely noticeable at first, it can eventually become disturbing. A bad posture can affect your general physical appearance, reduce your confidence in public and even cause you health problems like back pain, respiratory difficulty, etc. The good news is that bad posture can be prevented before it happens, and be corrected after it happens. So if you fear that your posture is bad, I will be sharing with you, important tips and exercises for body posture that will help you regain your erect physique. Grab your sporting gear let’s begin!
Is Your Posture Bad? Quickly Do a Posture Check
If you are not sure whether you have a good posture or not, you can stand in front of a large mirror or ask a friend to help you out with a thorough look from head to toe. If after the above check, you find out that there is a straight (imaginary) line from your ear to your shoulder up to your hip, and you look balanced and upright, your posture is okay, and you only need to maintain it; but if after checking, you realize that you have rounded shoulders, slouching (drooping) head, bent knees, and a potbelly, these are red flags alerting you that your posture needs immediate attention.
Exercises for Body Posture
There are several exercises you can try at home to improve your posture. I will be sharing some with you along with detailed steps on how to put them into practice:
1. Plank Pose
The plank pose helps you to maintain a good posture by aligning your spine properly. Also, it strengthens your muscles in the back, shoulders, buttocks, and posterior thigh.
To get in the Plank Pose:
Remember that you aim to form a straight line with your body. To do this, get down on both hands and knees while making sure that your hands align with your shoulders; and your knees, with your hips.
Now, lift your heels and straighten your legs. If you do this correctly, your body should be in a straight line.
Remain in this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute while leaving your chest open and your shoulders back.
2. Child’s Pose
The child’s pose is one of the several exercises for body posture. It is used as a resting or restorative position during yoga or even routinely as a stretching exercise. This pose helps to open the hips and lengthen the lower part of the back.
How to do the Child’s Pose:
Get a yoga mat or any soft material and spread it on the floor. Go down on both hands and knees, lean your body backward while maintaining your hands in the same position. Lean back further until your forehead comes in contact with the floor.
Ensure that your arms make a straight line and your glutes (buttocks) rest on your heels. Your shoulders should be relaxed.
Stay in this position for a while.
3. Mountain Pose
Like the Child’s Pose explained above, the Mountain Pose is also a yoga position that you can easily do to improve your posture. It focuses on the upright alignment of the body as well. To achieve this, several aspects of good body posture are involved.
How to Do the Mountain Pose:
Stand erect with both feet and hip wide apart while ensuring an even distribution of your weight on both feet. Move back and forth gently to feel how the variations in weight distribution affect your posture.
Slightly bend your knees, squeeze your thighs and tilt your tailbone down. Push your chest forward by dropping your shoulders down and back.
Now, keep your shoulders relaxed while allowing your arms to fall to the sides of your body and your palms facing forward. Breath in and out a few times and maintain the position for a few seconds.
4. Arch Up
This exercise consists of three important movements that require you to tuck your chin and rotate your arms externally with your thumbs facing upward.
The three movements are shoulder flexion, shoulder extension, and horizontal abduction. You can do them as follows:
- Shoulder Flexion: Push both arms and shoulder blades upwards and raise your hands as high as you can without bending them.
- Horizontal Abduction: Raise both arms as high as you can to the side and bring your shoulder blades together.
- Shoulder Extension: Push your arms upwards and lift them as high as you can
5. Forward Fold
The forward fold is a stretch exercise that helps to release tension in your spine, posterior thigh muscles, and buttocks. Also, it stretches your hips and legs. The interesting thing about this exercise is that you will feel the backside of your body lengthening and opening up.
How to Do the Forward Fold Stretch:
Stand erect with your big toes touching and your heels kept slightly apart. Now, bring your hands to your hips and fold forward towards them.
Place your hands on a block or release them towards the floor as far as you can.
Slightly bend your knees, soften your hip joints, and allow your spine to lengthen. Then tuck your chin into your chest and allow your head to fall to the floor.
Maintain this pose for a minute.
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Other Ways to Improve Your Body Posture
It is noteworthy that apart from the exercises for body posture which you can do periodically, there are several day-to-day activities that when done correctly will speed up your journey towards achieving your desired posture.
- Stand erect and allow your arms to relax by your sides
- Keep your shoulder back and wide apart
- Push your chest a little bit forward and pull your belly button towards your spine
- Your chin should be parallel to the floor
- Keep your feet flat on the floor
The correct way of sitting at a desk
- Keep your back straight
- Your feet should be flat on the floor
- Do not cross your legs
- Keep your ears aligned with your collar bone
- Just like in standing, your chin should also be parallel to the floor
Using your phone or laptop
- Apply similar posture rules as in standing and sitting depending on your current position
- Your laptop should be placed on a desk such that it will be at the level of your eyes without necessitating you to bend your neck down or lookup.
- While using your phone, do not hold it below or above your line of sight while sitting or standing erect
While lying down
- Keep your spine aligned
- Avoid sleeping on your stomach, as this can cause your neck to twist
- Avoid twisting of your waist
A good posture says a lot about you; from the level of confidence to health status. It is among the first things that your prospective employers, spouse use to make a first impression about you. Maintaining a good posture helps you not just to appear confident but also protects you from several unwanted health conditions.
Have you tried any of the exercises above? Please share your experience with us in the comments section below.
Q: Which exercise is best for good posture?
A: There is no single best exercise for body posture, you will get better results by combining several exercises.
Q: How long will it take me to get a good posture?
A: This depends on your current posture, body weight, and how dedicated you are to the course. The more effort you put in, the quicker you see results.
Q: Do I need a fitness coach?
A: Getting a fitness coach will make your journey easier, but if you cannot afford one, this article is a good place to start.
Q: Am I expected to continue the exercise for life?
A: This might not be necessary; once you can achieve a good posture, your next step will be to maintain it, and this can simply be done by avoiding bad standing, sitting, and lying postures.
Q: Is weight loss necessary?
A: Yes, weight loss is necessary if you are obese or overweight. Excess weight will weaken your abdominal muscles and add additional stress to your joints thus affecting your posture.