Enhancing your posture and stability can notably increase your confidence and strength. Luckily, research shows that exercising helps people improve their overall posture while reducing back, neck, and shoulder pain. Better yet, completing daily exercises doesn’t have to be hard. Just add these five simple exercises to your morning or evening routine to improve your posture and overall vitality.
1. Mountain Pose
Mountain pose is the perfect exercise with which to begin a posture-building routine. It’s easy, grounding, and builds confidence.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
- Spread your toes wide before planting your feet onto the ground.
- Maintain a very slight bend in your knees and tuck your tailbone in to keep your spine completely vertical.
- Turn your palms out, bring your shoulders back, and tuck your chin down slightly.
- Finally, take 5 to 10 deep breaths and try to maintain a meditative state of mind.
When you execute mountain pose correctly, you’ll quickly realize it’s a very engaging posture. You don’t just stand around, but use your muscles to maintain good posture. Over time, mountain pose will deliver noticeable results.
2. Side Stretch
Side stretching is important for back health because the muscles on your sides connect to your back in an intricate way. Stretching those side muscles can help release your back and improve your posture. From mountain pose:
- Raise your arms overhead.
- Interlace all of your fingers together except for your thumbs and index fingers. Hold your thumbs and index fingers together and point them up.
- Lean the upper part of your body to the right and your hips slightly to the left while keeping your chest open and your spine extended.
- This will stretch the left side of your body.
- During the stretch, be sure to breathe deeply and find a good edge of intensity that allows you to feel calm while still experiencing an effective stretch.
- Hold this for 5-10 full breaths.
- Next, switch sides by leaning the upper part of your body to the left and your hips slightly to the right.
- This will stretch the right side of your body.
- Hold this for several full breaths.
Approach these side stretches slowly and be sure to come out of them while maintaining deep breathing and steadiness.
3. Forward Bend
The forward bend provides a very simple, yet very effective stretch. Its power comes from its ability to simultaneously stretch your neck, upper back, lower back, hamstrings, and calves.
- Start in mountain pose and then shift your weight toward your toes.
- Bend forward and grab your opposite elbows with your hands.
- Hang here for a few breaths, letting your back and head go limp.
- If the stretch feels intense on your hamstrings and calves, feel free to keep a slight bend in your knees. This will lessen the stretch if you’re not used to this position.
- In addition, try swaying from side to side to stretch your back, leg, and side muscles in different ways.
- Maintain a deep, steady breath and only stretch as far as your body will allow you to go.
- Aim to maintain calmness.
- Hold this for several full breaths.
The forward bend should make you feel loose and able to use your back muscles more efficiently without them tightening up. This stretch also will do wonders for your legs and neck.
4. Sphinx Pose
Acquiring good posture requires bending your back. This light backbend — which energizes, opens, and strengthens your back — is perfect for anyone new to backends.
- Lie down on your belly, keeping your feet untucked so the tops of your feet rest on the floor.
- Now, come up onto your forearms while you keep your groin area against the ground.
- You should start feeling the backbend at this point.
- To keep pressure out of your lower back, squeeze your glutes while attempting to bend the middle and upper sections of your back as much as possible.
- Use your shoulder muscles to lift higher from your forearms.
- Hold here for five to 10 deep, steady breaths.
5. Camel Pose
If you’re a beginner to backbends, stay in the sphinx pose longer instead of moving on to this more-intense pose. This backbend will open your back and chest while strengthening your core.
- Start on your knees with your toes tucked.
- Lean back, reaching for your heels. (Proper practice of this pose requires you to have the ability to grab your left heel with your left hand and your right heel with your right hand.)
- Allow your head to fall back. (If you can perform this pose relatively well, you should see behind you.)
- Squeeze your glutes and bend from the middle and upper sections of your back as much as possible to release any pressure in your lower back. (Remember to keep your core muscles engaged at all times.)
- Hold here for five deep, steady breaths.
- Come out of the pose as slowly as possible once you’re ready.
Maintaining good posture is important because it boosts your energy levels while promoting greater focus and vitality. By practicing these simple exercises on a consistent basis, you can improve your posture as well as the health of your back, shoulders, and neck. Good luck on your journey to better posture and overall health!