Align Your Spine: 5 Exercises to Improve Your Posture

First impressions are important, but putting your best foot forward can pose a challenge, with bad posture putting a wrinkle in your meet-and-greets. Chronic slouchers are often viewed as lazy or timid, especially during interviews and first dates. Not only does bad posture impact how others perceive you, but it’s also harmful to your physical health. The consequences of slouching range from rounded shoulders to back pain to spinal dysfunction and joint degeneration.

With your spinal health on the line, correcting your posture isn’t a to-do to be deprioritized. Besides preventing the development of life-altering conditions, putting your spine on the straight and narrow improves your balance, flexibility, and strength.

So, the next time you find yourself hunched over your keyboard or slouching while lounging, remember that improving your posture is beneficial for you inside and out. Here are five exercises for correcting your stance.

Low-impact exercises

As people age, they are more likely to develop bad posture from inactivity. Maintaining an upright stance is particularly essential for seniors, as it keeps the body limber and healthy. For older individuals and those who can’t perform high-intensity activities, low-impact exercises are great for correcting posture. Simply walking while actively squaring your shoulders and straightening your upper back can help improve your stance. Other practices include swimming, yoga, and cycling.

For solutions outside of the gym, seniors should consider trading out their traditional walker for a posture-friendly alternative from The Perfect Walker. By double-dipping on the benefits of a proper-posture-promoting workout regimen and daily preventative measures (i.e., using an upright walker), you’ll find yourself on the straight and narrow to slouch-free living.

The Y raise

Strengthening your upper back is essential for correcting posture, and the Y raise is an effective exercise for just that. For this exercise, you’ll need a dumbbell and a stability ball. Start by holding a light dumbbell in both hands. Grab your exercise ball, lie down with it centered on your belly, extend both hands to the ground in a Y shape, and pull your shoulder back. Lift your arms to shoulder height and then lower to starting position. The Y raise is all about form, so take it slow and steady for best results.

Quadruped hip extension

Activate your glutes and strengthen abdominal muscles with the quadruped hip extension exercise. Start in a hands and knees position on a mat and position your shoulders directly over hands. Keep your knee bent at a 90-degree angle as you firmly lift one leg to the ceiling. Pulse the leg for ten seconds and focus on keeping your lower back straight.

Neck Flexion

The neck becomes tense from hours of staring down at a phone screen or typing at a laptop. By isolating the neck muscles and strengthening them, your posture will improve. Think of the neck as a supportive muscle that acts much like a strong core would. Both are crucial to maintaining proper posture. The exercise is perfect when you don’t feel like breaking a sweat and allows you to lie down in a comfortable position. Start with your face up and gently tuck your chin. Then, lift your head two inches off the ground and hold for five seconds. Keeping your chin tucked, finish off by slowly lowering your head to the floor.

Thoracic spine rotation

Releasing tension in your spine is an essential post-gym ritual. Along with hydrating and refueling with a nutrient-packed snack, a  thoracic spine exercise is a must, as it is the perfect movement to slow your heart rate and increase flexibility. To start, lower onto all fours and reach your hips down toward heels to rest on the shins. Raise your left hand to your ear and extend the elbow. With your right hand firmly planted, rotate your left elbow up to the ceiling and hold as you exhale. After holding for a few breaths, release down to the starting position and repeat the movement ten times. Make sure to stretch out your opposite side and focus on keeping the core activated.

Straighten out

Improving your posture makes you appear taller, confident, and alert almost immediately.  Engaging in posture-friendly exercises will help develop your overall strength and flexibility as well. So the next time you catch yourself hunching over your laptop, take a few moments to stretch the spine and reset your stance.

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