5 simple exercises to improve posture

A good posture is a result of the muscles of the body aligning properly, allowing for efficient movement. Here are a few simple exercises and stretches that you can incorporate into your workout program:

1. Core exercises

Good posture starts with a strong core including the abdominals, lower back, oblique’s and hips. Strong core muscles help you hold your body in an upright position, thereby improving balance. This helps you move your body with greater control and ease, and also bids goodbye to the occurrence of pain and injury. Weak core muscles put more pressure on other muscles to over perform, which results in weakness and pain. There are several examples of people who have been able to eliminate lower back pain through regular core training.

Here are a few simple exercises that you can do at home to strengthen your core muscles:

  • Stomach crunches

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  • Sit ups
  • Plank holds
  • Side planks
  • Back extensions
  • Standing side bends
  • Stretches
  1. Shoulder exercises

Rounded shoulders are very common but they are actually a result of hours being spent slouching or sitting/standing improperly. Daily mundane activities such as watching television, driving car, or sitting and working on a laptop leads to this postural abnormality. These forward reaching positions lead to the chest, shoulders and hip muscles to become shortened and tight, while the upper and middle back muscles start to weaken.

This posture can be improved by doing shoulder exercises that strengthen these weak upper back muscles. The stronger the upper back is, the more flexible will the chest become. This will enable the shoulders to naturally pull back, which is a sign of improved posture.

Here are some simple exercises for shoulders:

  • Reverse dumbbells
  • Shoulder press
  • Side raises with dumbbells
  • Standing stretch
  • Torso stretch
  • Shoulder rolls
  • Chest arm rolls
  1. Hip exercises

The way your hips are shaped define your posture to a great extent. Hips should be seen as neutral and levelled up when seen from the side. Hips tilting forward is also a postural abnormality which can lead to lordosis. This is common for those who sit for most of the day with their legs bent. This is a sign of weak muscles in the hamstrings, glutes and abs. It can be corrected by improving the flexibility of your thighs and hip flexors.

Here are some simple exercises for strengthening hip muscles:

  • All core exercises listed above
  • Bridges
  • Leg raises
  • Hamstring stretches
  • Standing quad stretch
  1. Head and neck exercises

Spending hours, days, weeks and years with your head and neck forward tightens the front and side neck muscles, weakening them. The position of your neck and head are also crucial components defining a good posture. The neck muscles need to be strong and firm in order to be able to hold your head directly above your shoulders. This is why the neck area needs to be fixed and tightened up, so that the head can centre itself appropriately. These exercises can also reduce the occurrence of neck pain.

Here are some exercises for the neck with minimal force:

  • Neck stretches using hands
  • Neck retraction exercise
  • Chin glides