10 Exercises for Better Posture
Many of us spend the day sitting in front of the computer, and this can be so hard on our bodies! We tend to lean in and slouch a bit, which over time can impact our posture and our health. It puts our bodies out of balance and can lead to back and neck pain, and sometimes even more serious issues.
If computer use is impacting your posture, though, don’t fret! Here are some ways to help you bounce back. It might be a bit much to do all of these things on the same day, so maybe try doing just a few at first, working up to all ten as you’re ready. If you experience pain while doing any of these exercises, back off for a while. As your body gets used to these moves, it will get easier. You don’t want to set yourself back with an injury!
A full length mirror is really helpful for a lot of these exercises, so you can see if your body is properly aligned.
1. Start in a standing position with your feet hip distance apart. Imagine a string running up your spine and toward the sky, pulling your back up straight. Roll your shoulders up and back, pressing your shoulderblades together gently. You can leave your hands at your sides or bring them into prayer position. Hold your belly in to help support your lower back, and stay in this pose for up to 30 seconds, taking slow, deep breaths.
2. Come onto your hands and knees with your neck in a neutral position. Inhale, and raise your right arm and left leg so that they are parallel to the floor. Stretch your arm forward, and point your left toe, stretching that leg back as straight as you can. Release on the exhale, and repeat this 10-12 times, then repeat with the left arm and right leg.
3. Still on hands and knees, take a deep breath as you arch your back, tilting your head back so you’re looking up. Press your shoulderblades together. Exhale, releasing your neck and arching your back. Press onto the floor with your hands and curl your tailbone toward the floor. Repeat this cycle 10-12 times.
4. Move to a cross-legged position, sitting up straight with your abs contracted. Roll your shoulders up and forward 10-15 times, taking deep breaths. Come back to neutral, then roll them up and back 10-15 times.
5. Lay on your belly, resting with your arms stretching out perpendicular to your body. Bend your arms 90 degrees, so your fingers are pointing in the same direction as your head with the palms facing down. As you inhale, pull your shoulderblades together, lifting your arms off of the floor. Exhale and release. Repeat this 8-10 times.
6. Come back to a seated position, stretching your legs out straight in front of you. Engage your abs and sit up as straight as you can, rolling your shoulders back and tilting your chin up slightly. Stay in this active, seated position as you take 10 slow, deep breaths.
7. Bend your legs, so you’re sitting on your knees, then shift your bottom to the right, so it’s on the floor beside your feet. Place your left hand on your knee, and twist your body to the right. You can either place your right hand on the floor behind you or bring it around to the right behind your back to deepen the stretch. Hold for 10 deep breaths, then shift your bottom to the left side of your feet and repeat in the other direction.
8. Come back to standing, and raise your arms above your head, palms facing each other. Inhale and straighten your spine, and as you exhale, bend your knees as if you were about to sit down in a chair. Get your thighs as close to parallel to the floor as you can without causing strain to your knees. Straighten your legs on the next inhale, and repeat this move 10-12 times.
9. Stand up straight with your back up against a wall and your feet about 12″ away from the wall. Raise your arms up by your sides, pressing them against the wall and bending at the elbow, so your fingers are pointing toward the ceiling and your palms are facing outward. Slowly raise your elbows until you feel a stretch in your sides, then lower them back to neutral. Repeat 10 times, keeping your back, neck, and arms pressed gently against the wall the entire time.
10. While still in a standing position, lift your right foot off the floor, holding on to your knee. If you’re comfortable here, move your foot slowly and place your right foot on the inside of your left thigh. Bring your arms up over your head, palms facing each other. If possible, touch your palms together. Focus here on lengthening your spine and breathing deeply for 10 breaths. Repeat on the left side. If you have trouble balancing in this posture, you can start out doing it up against a wall.
Once you’ve completed this set of moves, it’s a good idea to give your body a little bit of recovery. Sit on your knees and bend at the waist, resting your belly on your thighs and your forehead on the floor. This will help release some of the tension built up in your back. Stay here for about 30 seconds, then change to a reclined position on the floor with your feet hip distance apart and your arms resting palms up. Lay here and breathe for as long as you like.