Improving your posture is a sure-fire way to reduce back pain and improve your spine’s health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, the age-old adage of “sit up straight!” might not be enough to cure bad posture. After all, bad posture is the result of tight, sore, and/or weak muscles and joints, so if you want to fix your posture, you have to address the underlying causes.
If you are serious about improving your posture, here are four simple exercises that will loosen and strengthen all the right muscles, and make you feel great in the process!
1. Child’s Pose
If you’ve ever done yoga, then you’re no stranger to child’s pose! This simple, relaxing position is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal when it comes to improving your posture. Resting in child’s pose stretches and lengthens your spine, glutes, and hamstrings. It releases tension in your back and neck, making good posture easier to achieve.
To do this:
Sit on your shins with your knees together. Your big toes should be touching with your heels relaxed out to the side.
Fold forward over your thighs and stretch your hands out in front of you.
Sink your hips back down toward your feet. If your thighs won’t go all the way down, that’s okay! Just place a pillow or folded blanket under your hips for support.
Gently place your forehead on the floor or turn your head to one side, and keep your arms extended in front of you.
Breathe deeply into the back of your rib cage and waist as you relax in this pose. You can stay here for up to 5 minutes, and don’t forget to breathe deeply!
2. Forward Fold
While “forward fold” sounds like a special, fancy move, it’s actually just your basic toe-touch! Forward folds are great for releasing tension in your spine, glutes, and hamstrings. Stretching these muscles are important for good posture because a tight butt and legs will pull on the low back, causing slouching and discomfort. During a forward fold, you should feel the entire backside of your body stretching.
To do this:
Stand up straight with your big toes touching and your heels slightly apart.
Fold forward at your hip. It helps to place your hands on your hips so that you can feel your upper body hinge forward into the fold!
Drop your hands down to the floor, or rest them on a block or your shins if they don’t reach. No stress if you can’t touch the floor! Just go as far as you can and never push it.
Put a slight bend in your knees, loosen your hips, and let your spine lengthen towards the floor.
Tuck your chin into your chest so the crown of your head can fall heavily towards the floor, lengthening your spine. Hangout in this pose for up to 1 minute, and don’t forget to breathe deeply!
Cat-Cow is a must-do movement for anyone with low back pain. This simple exercise massages and stretches the spine; relieves tension in your shoulders, torso, and neck; increases blood flow, and just generally feels great. Cat-Cow loosens and strengthens muscles necessary for good posture.
To do this:
Come onto a tabletop position on your hands and knees, balancing your weight evenly between all four points.
Become a cow! Inhale and look up, dropping your abdomen down toward the ground as you extend your spine, creating a downwards curve.
Become a cat! Exhale and arch your spine toward the ceiling and tuck your chin into your chest. If you look like a hissing cat, you’re doing it right!
Continue this movement for at least 1 minute, pairing each transition with your breath: inhale to become a cow, exhale to become a cat.
P.S. - you can also do this movement while standing up for quick and easy back pain relief.
4. Chest Opener
As its name implies, a chest opener opens and stretches the muscles in your chest. This is especially important if you sit or work on a computer for the majority of the day. These activities can cause you to hunch your shoulders forward and shorten the chest muscles, making proper posture more difficult and uncomfortable.
To do this:
Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
Roll your shoulders up and back, bringing your arms behind you. If you can, interlace your fingers with your palms pressing together. If your hands don’t reach, no worries! Simply use a towel to fill the gap between your hands.
Keep looking straight ahead, and keep your head, neck, and spine straight and aligned.
Inhale and lift your chest toward the ceiling, pulling your hands toward the floor. You should feel a deep stretch across the front of your shoulders and your chest muscles!
Keep breathing deeply and hold to the count of five, then relax for a few breaths. Repeat this movement up to 10 times.
Did we miss your favorite posture-improving exercise? These are only a few of the many exercises you can do to improve your posture! Daily “at home” maintenance combined with chiropractic care is the best way to improve your posture, reduce pain in the neck, back, and hips, and have a happier, healthier spine.
A consultation with a North Houston Sports Chiropractor like Dr. Stark can lead to a better, more fulfilling, and less painful life. Dr. Stark will evaluate your posture, pain, and daily routines to determine the treatment plan that works best for YOU!
Book a consultation at Stark Chiropractic and Sports right here using our hassle-free online booking portal, or give the office a call at 281-836-5908.