How Exercise Can Improve Your Posture

Over time, and without frequent exercising, our desk and computer jobs take their toll on our back and consequently our posture. Eventually our abdominal core muscles start to get weak and we begin to get a slouch to our posture instead of standing up straight. Maybe it is already happening to you.

The Advantages of Having Good Posture

Having good posture not only makes you look leaner and taller, but gives you a better center of gravity by keeping the head, neck and back all in alignment with each other. This gives you better upper and lower body balance, thus making you steadier on your feet and reducing the risk of injury from falling.

Exercises to Improve Posture

To improve your posture, you have to tone and strengthen your abdominal core muscles, including the lower back, buttocks and thighs. By working all of these muscle groups, they counter balance and support each other equally. Target-specific exercises such as Pilates, planks and yoga improve and stabilize the abdominal core and lower back, while lunges and squats work the thighs and buttocks thus keeping the hips in better alignment.

Improving Upper Body Balance

Strengthening the upper back and neck helps keep the weight of your head centered over the spine. Resistance exercises such as Shoulder Roll Back and Backward Resistance Exercise helps strengthen these two areas.

Shoulder Roll Back

Starting position is to stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. With your arms hanging alongside your body, roll your shoulders back and down, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Your hands should naturally rotate outward a little. Pull your chin straight back toward your neck, but do not bend your head forward. Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds. Do this exercise two to three times throughout the workday.

Backward Resistance Exercise

Place your hands behind your head, fingers interlocked, elbows pointing out. While gently pushing your hands forward, push you neck backward thus creating resistance. Maintain your head alignment for five to 10 seconds while feeling the resistance. Repeat three times.

Improving Lower Body Balance

Your legs and feet support your entire body, so it just makes sense these need to be strong also. Exercises that work the quadriceps and calves include walking, running and cycling. Standing calf raises on a step or small platform improve the arches of your feet and strengthen calves. Quadriceps exercises include leg extensions in addition to squats and lunges.

Because leg extensions place a lot of torque on the knees, keep weight to a minimum and perform only one or two sets of 15 repetitions each at a time.

Keeping all muscles involved with an erect posture equally toned is important not only to keep that long lean look, but to reduce the chance of a muscle failing under pressure and causing an injury.