For those of us that seem to find ourselves slouching or constantly bothered by our mothers to stand up straight, there may be a way we can fix our posture without balancing books on our head. We may only think of exercise as a way to get fit, but certain workouts can help improve your posture. Fixing the way you sit and stand can be as simple as adding a few quick moves into your daily routine.
Exercises that strengthen your core are especially important in encouraging good posture. These muscles move the torso by flexing, extending, or rotating your spine, according to WebMD. "A strong core helps stabilize your spinal column, and the balance of flexors and extensors helps keep your shoulders back and your head over your shoulders," says chiropractor Marvin C. Lee, DC to Bustle over email.
Working out can also help release tension, give you more energy, and even improve your self-image, which can all motivate you to stand up straight and carry yourself taller. "The better you feel the taller you walk and stand," says Lee.
If you're looking to do a workout that will you help improve your stature, consider trying one of these six workouts that can help improve posture and strengthen your core muscles.
1. Tai Chi
Greater movement allows for better posture, and this ancient Chinese martial art uses leverage via your joints in order to facilitate coordination and relaxation, rather than stretch your muscles. "It also opens up the circulatory system and improves posture by opening up the body’s range of motion," says certified personal trainer Brad Thomas, ACSM, MFA, MA to Bustle over email.
"[Dynamic] strength training involves exercises that involve joint movement," says Thomas. Squats stimulate the entire length of your muscles, including quads, glutes, hamstrings and hips. "This activation is crucial in promoting changes in those muscles which help your body remain upright whether you’re moving, sitting, standing or lying down," he says.
3. Circuit Training
Circuit training helps improve joint alignment to improve posture. "Add some variety and practicality to your workout by moving from a strength exercise to a cardio exercise and doing multiple sets with little or no rest between sets," says Thomas. "For better posture, focus on doing exercises that pull back your shoulder blades. These include reverse pec flyes, seated row, or lat pulldowns.
4. Core Stability Training
"A well-strengthened core is imperative for achieving and maintaining good body positioning," says Thomas. "In order to do this, it’s important to work on muscles that can assist in controlling movements, shifting body weight and transferring energy." Good exercises include sit-ups, planks, supermans, and back bridges.
"Whether it’s Vinyasa, Ashtanga or Bikram yoga, you will not only become more attuned with your chakra, but more equipped to handle more difficult asana (yoga postures) if you integrate dynamic poses," says Thomas. "They help elongate the spine and strengthen the parts of your body that make up your core."
Pilates not only strengthens your core muscles, but it also helps your body maintain proper alignment. The workout uses the deep abdominal muscles and pelvic floor to help allow the shoulders to relax and move the neck and head more freely.
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