“Stop slouching.” Sound familiar? Your mother was right, slouching, or poor posture not only looks bad, but can lead to back pain and spinal problems later in life.
Strengthen the core. Strengthening of the core is the best way to improve your posture and correct (or prevent) back problems. Your core muscles surround and support your spine and are responsible for standing upright and rotation of your trunk at the waist. Core muscles include your abdominals (abs), the muscles of your lower back that connect your spine to your pelvis, your obliques (under your “love handles”), your diaphragm, and the muscles of your pelvis (hips).
Train in 3 dimensions. Training and strengthening these core muscles from ALL directions will provide support your spine from all directions while strengthening your hips and pelvis which also support posture. Training your abs without training your lower back leads to imbalances that impact your posture, either causing your to lean forward or curve back. By training ALL the muscles of your core in ALL directions, you’ll provide a balanced, solid trunk that supports good posture and reduces back pain or problems.
Before you begin your posture exercises, start with these stretches:
1. Shoulder release
This simple movement releases (stretches and prepares) the rotator cuff or shoulder joints.
How to do: Find a sturdy straight backed chair and sit to the back of it with the feet flat on the floor. Relax the neck and allow the head to lean forward as you inhale and lift the shoulders toward the ears, hold briefly and relax. Repeat 5 – 10 times.
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