Well over 60 million Americans report a recent episode of back pain at any one time. Whether it’s acute (short-lived) or chronic (long-term), back, neck, shoulder, or joint pain can adversely affect your quality of life. And one of the common causes of deterioration of spine health is terrible posture.
Thankfully, by adding just a few simple exercises into your daily routine, you can learn how to improve posture for the better. Read on for a practical how-to to less body pain and a straighter, more muscular back.
If you want to avoid a stint in hospital for minimally invasive spine surgery, consider adding a restorative stretch like child’s pose into your exercise routine.
For passionate yogis, this comforting pose likely numbers among their favorite spine exercises. It helps release tension in your hamstrings, spine, lower back, glutes, and neck.
Kneel on a mat with your big toes touching. Sit on your feet and curl your body over your thighs. Lay your forehead on the mat and stretch your hands out in front of you.
Stay in this position for as long as you like, breathing deeply.
An oldy but a goody! This new version of the crunch or curl-up puts less strain on your neck while helping you achieve improved posture by strengthening your midsection.
Lie on the floor or a mat. Bend your knees and your elbows and place your hands lightly over your ears. This stops you from pulling on your neck.
Let out a big breath, then pull your stomach in. Lift your shoulder and head off the floor in the direction of your knees. Hold and release.
If you’ve been sitting at your desk typing all day, you’ve probably hardly moved–except maybe to grab a bite to eat or a cup of coffee.
This exercise will expand and strengthen your chest, helping you to stand straighter. So get up off your chair now and place your feet hip-width apart.
Clasp your hands together behind your back and keep looking forward. Take a big breath in and lift your chest upward and push your hands downward. Hold for a few seconds and release.
The cobra pose is another stretch borrowed from yoga. This back extension helps with poor posture by strengthening your erector spinae–the muscles connecting your back to your spine.
To complete this stretch, lay on a mat face down. Keep your legs and feet straight and together. Take a deep breath in and out, then use your abdominal muscles to lift your head and chest upward.
Lower your body down again to a flat position. Repeat as many times as you feel comfortable.
How to Improve Posture: Simple Movement Works
It’s best to do a round of these exercises at least once a day. And with so many of us working at home these days, there’s really no excuse not to. If you do have to go to the office, try to find a quiet space with room to stretch out in to complete your routine or look online for sitting position stretches.
For more tips on how to improve posture and relieve pain, read the other articles on our blog.