Bad posture has become a common problem these days. It can lead to lower back pain, neck pain, and shoulder pain, and in some cases, also disrupt blood circulation, leading to other severe health conditions.
There are many causes of bad posture. Some major ones include – living a sedentary lifestyle, slouching on a chair, not exercising regularly, sitting in front of a computer for a long time, having poor core strength, and so on. While you can’t escape your sitting job, you can work on your posture and correct it by doing certain exercises daily.
Incorporating some exercises into your everyday routine can improve posture and help you stand taller. It can also prevent the pain and discomfort that generally occurs while standing or sitting with poor posture. To help you get started, we’ve rounded up a few basic yet effective exercises you can do daily to improve your posture.
Exercises to practice daily for good posture
Here's a look at six such exercises:
1) Wall angel
The wall angel is one of the easiest exercises to promote good posture. It loosens up tight shoulders and helps ease neck, shoulder, and upper back pain.
- Stand tall against a wall, and ensure that you're at least five inches away from the wall.
- Position your arms against the wall, and keep your feet at a shoulder-width distance.
- With your back tall and head straight, push your shoulders and arms into the wall, and count to ten.
- Release and repeat a few times more.
It's a very productive exercise that helps improve posture and makes the transverse abdominis and obliques strong. It's one of the best exercises to strengthen the core muscle and back.
- Start on your knees and hands, and position your palms flat on the floor under your shoulders.
- Move your legs behind, and keep your toes tucked under. Pull your belly button in towards your spine to prevent hunching your back.
- Keep your gaze straight on the floor, and hold the plank position for as long as it feels comfortable.
- Release and repeat the exercise for two more sets. To make it even more challenging, try to balance on your forearms.
3) Child’s pose
The child’s pose is a versatile yoga asana that offers several benefits. It strengthens the upper chest, stretches the spine, and targets the hips as well. Motreover, it offers great relaxation after a long hectic day at work.
- Start in a kneel-down position, and place your hands beside your body. Spread your knees slightly, and keep your toes tucked under your hips.
- Slowly lower your body bringing your hands forward, and rest your head on the floor. Stretch your spine to lengthen your hands, and maintain the position.
- Breathe easily, and stay in the posture for a few seconds.
- Release and repeat.
4) Supine thoracic spine rotation
This exercise alleviates pain and tightness in the back and improves stability.
- Lie on your back on the floor or mat. Position your arms out to the sides, with your palms up, and form a 'T' shape with your body.
- Bend your knees at 90 degrees, and ensure that they're stacked directly above your hips. To make the position more comfortable, you can either place a folded towel or a foam roller under your back.
- Turn your right palm down, and start to rotate your upper back to move your knees towards your right side.
- Make sure to rotate through your thoracic spine (mid or upper back), and don't allow your arms or shoulders to move off the floor.
- Lower your knees as far as you can, and breathe easily at all times.
- Return to the starting position, and repeat on the other side.
5) Standing cat-cow stretch
The cat-cow stretch is a great yoga exercise that opens the chest and promotes good posture. It activates the core and back and gently stretches the spine to ease back pain and tightness.
- Position your legs at a hip-width distance, and keep your knees bent. Put your hands in front of you, or rest them on your thighs.
- With your legs stable, start to get into the cat pose by lengthening your neck and moving your head towards your chest while maintaining a flat spine.
- As you breathe out, round your pelvis, and bring your head up to get into the cow position.
- Hold each pose for a few breaths, and repeat as needed.
6) Cobra pose
The cobra pose helps stretch and strengthen the spine and lower back muscles. It's an effective yoga pose that prevents slouching, promotes good posture, and eases back pain as well.
- Lie on your belly with your legs extended back straight and palms flat on the floor near your chest.
- Press firmly onto the tops of your feet, and pull your stomach in towards your spine.
- Start to lengthen out through your torso, and slowly lift your chest and head off the floor. Keep your gaze on the floor, and do not put pressure on your neck.
- Lower your body down towards the floor, and repeat the exercise a few times.
So, these were some of the most common exercises you can do daily to work on your posture. Aim to perform them thrice a day, and hold each position for at least 20 counts.
If you have severe back pain or other discomfort, though, check with a doctor before attempting these exercises. Also, make sure to warm up for a few minutes before exercising, as training the muscles without preparing them can cause muscle strains and injuries.