exercise to improve posture

Bad posture isn’t attractive on any one, but with jobs that require us to sit at a desk all day and phones that constantly draw our eyes down, it’s no surprise that slouching is so common. However, that slump may be more detrimental than you think. Over time, bad posture can take a serious toll on your spine, shoulders, hips and knees. The longer the issues go untreated, the more likely they are to lead to back and joint pain, reduced flexibility and compromised muscles, all of which limit your ability to burn fat and build strength.

So, what does proper posture look like? Stand with your profile facing a mirror. Hold you head high and straight, without tilting it forward. Your ears should be in line with the middle of your shoulders, and your shoulders should be down and back, lifting your breastbone. Tuck your abs in, but don’t tilt your pelvis forward or backward. Think about curling your booty under your hips. Lastly, keep your knees shoulder-width apart and slightly bent. With correct posture, your body will have an elongated S shape.

If you can’t master it, the exercises below can help. With continued use, each one will help you strengthen the muscles that support proper posture.

Plank Pose

Why You Should Do It
This exercise strengthens the obliques and transverse abdominis, as well as your shoulder and back muscles.
How to Do It
Begin on your hands and knees with your palms under your shoulders. Extend both legs straight out behind you, toes tucked under, into a pushup position. Pull your abs in so your lower back doesn’t sag, and keep your gaze on the floor. Hold the plank until you start feeling fatigued, rest, then repeat.
How to Make It Harder
Balance on your forearms instead of your hands.

Cobra Pose

Why You Should Do It
This move strengthens the back muscles that extend your spine and prevent slouching.
How to Do It
Lie on your stomach with palms flat on the floor near your ribs. Extend your legs straight out behind you, pressing the tops of your feet into the floor. Exhale strongly and pull your abs in and up toward your spine. Lengthen out through your spine and slowly raise your head and chest off the floor, using only your back muscles. Do not push down into your arms to press up. Keep your hip bones on the floor, and gaze down at the floor to relax your neck muscles. Slowly lower back down. Repeat three to five times, adding more as you get stronger.
How to Make It Harder
Reach your arms out beside your head, like Superman. Keep your elbows straight.

Single-leg Extensions

Why You Should Do It
This move trains your core muscles to work together to stabilize your pelvis.
How to Do It
Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and hands behind your head. Press your lower back into the floor and curl your chin into your chest. Exhale strongly and pull your navel in and up toward your spine. Slowly pull one knee into your chest, keeping your lower back pressed into the floor, while extending your other leg straight out at about a 45-degree angle. Keep your abs pulled in and your lower back on the floor. If your back arches off the floor, extend your leg higher toward the ceiling. Switch legs. Start with five to 10 extensions per leg.
How to Make It Harder
Pull both knees into your chest, then extend both legs straight out at about a 45-degree angle, using your core to keep your lower back on the floor. Or, as you extend your legs, extend both arms overhead, reaching in the opposite direction of your legs.

SOURCES:
WebMD.com
Realsimple.com
Womenshealthmag.com