Good posture can be the backbone of good health. Carrying yourself correctly can prevent neck and back problems while reducing headaches and even reducing your risk of injury while exercising.
Getting that good posture, though, isn’t always easy. Hours in front of a computer, hunching over a smartphone and tablet, or carrying heavy objects can all chip away at your posture, and your health. Want to learn more? Here is a look at the importance of posture, and 5 simple exercises to improve your own.
Why does good posture matter?
The way we carry ourselves is often neglected in the face of demanding schedules, tech-heavy activities, and sedentary lifestyles. However, poor posture can negatively impact almost every area of our health and wellbeing. Here is a look at the benefits of proper posture.
While aches and pains sometimes occur as you move through life, many of them can be addressed by holding your body in the proper alignment. When your body is appropriately positioned as you work and play, you reduce pressure on your muscles and joints, and that means you reduce the pain that comes when these areas of the body experience stress. You could notice almost immediate relief of back, neck and shoulder pain if you begin to embrace good posture.
When you embrace good posture, you create more space within your torso where your lungs can fully expand. As a result, it allows you to take fuller, more efficient breaths to boost your physical and mental wellbeing. Poor posture can reduce your lung capacity, making it more difficult to breathe in a way that supports your optimal health.
The way in which you carry yourself can influence more than just your physical health. Good posture allows you to stand tall and project a sense of confidence and competence. That can leave people with a better impression of you, while also making you feel more confident and in charge. And more confidence, within yourself and those with whom you interact, can help you handle work and relationships more effectively.
You may not have linked your stomach and your posture before now, but they definitely go together. Poor posture can restrict the stomach, forcing acid up into the esophagus and throat.
Similarly, compressed internal organs tend to work less efficiently. If you slouch, you could experience both reflux and slowed digestion – Leading to discomfort.
Muscle Strength and Balance
Finally, good posture supports strong muscles and balance. Often, the exercises that develop good posture also strengthen the muscles that contribute to an aligned body. As a result, you may also experience a lower risk of falling alongside better overall health.
5 Simple Exercises to Improve Your Posture
If you want to optimize your posture and reap the related benefits, you should seek the support of a skilled physical therapist. However, you can start on your journey toward better health by using these 5 exercises at home. They are easy to learn and only take a few minutes so you can use them without significant interruption to your daily life.
Shoulder Blade Squeeze
The shoulder blade squeeze, when completed consistently a few times a day, can help to align your shoulders and expand capacity in your chest. Here is how to complete this exercise:
- Stand or sit up straight.
- Place your arms at your side.
- Press your shoulder blades back and toward each other.
- Hold the squeeze for 5-10 seconds.
Wall angels can help strengthen the muscles responsible for pulling your shoulders back. They can also lengthen muscles throughout your chest, back and torso. Here is how to complete this exercise:
- Stand with your back against a wall.
- Slide your arms against the wall until they are at shoulder level.
- Keep your palms facing outward.
- Raise your arms to shoulder level.
- Face your palms outward.
- Slowly continue sliding your arms up the wall until they are above your head.
- Lower your arms.
- Perform 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions.
The cat-cow stretch helps you to achieve the appropriate arch in the back that you need for good posture. Here is how to complete this exercise:
- Get down on your hands and knees.
- Breathe in while arching your back.
- Breathe out as you round your spin.
- Repeat for 1-2 minutes.
Chin tucks are useful for aligning your head and neck with the rest of your spine. They can help alleviate neck pain due to poor posture. Here is how to complete this exercise:
- Sit or stand with your back straight.
- Tuck your chin into your chest.
- Do NOT move your shoulders while tucking your chin.
- Hold for a few seconds before releasing the tuck.
- Repeat 10-15 times.
Hip Flexor Stretch
The hip flexor stretch is an ideal exercise for lengthening the hip flexor muscles and bringing the pelvis into better alignment. Here is how to complete this exercise:
- Sit on the floor.
- Extend one leg out in front of you.
- Bend the other leg at a 90-degree angle.
- Lean forward gently, keeping your back straight.
- Stop when you feel a stretch in your hips.
- Hold the position for 20-30 seconds on each side.
Are you ready to tackle poor posture and related pain? Then you are ready for In Touch NYC. Our compassionate and skilled physical therapists bring their areas of expertise to your treatment. Expect customized plans and genuine healing – All in one of our local NYC clinics.