by Kathy Smith
Slouching Makes You Sad…
I get a lot of compliments on my posture, and it makes me realize what a strong impression posture makes. When you stand and sit with good posture, you’re less likely to injure yourself in daily activity. Your internal organs have room to breathe. You radiate confidence and command respect. Your clothes fit better, and you get through the day with less fatigue.
Best of all, improving your posture makes you instantly look slimmer.
You only have to look around you to see the effect that aging can have on our bodies. I’m always shocked by the appearance of people who, after years of bone loss and poor posture, seem to stand in a permanent cringe. That’s why I urge you to start putting effort into your posture now.
It takes only a few minutes a week. The 2 quick moves below are specifically designed help you build strength for better posture. Don’t let gravity have the last word!
1. Midback Strengthener
Targets: Upper back postural strength and flexibility of the front of the shoulder.
Setup: Stand with your back to a wall, touching heels, buttocks, upper back, and head. Bend your elbows 90 degrees and lift them to your sides at shoulder height. Press your elbows and hands against the wall. If you have tight shoulders, you may not be able to touch the wall with your hands, elbows, or both—focus on your effort.
Move: Widen your clavicles, funnel your ribs down toward your waist, and press your navel toward your spine. Keeping your elbows and hands against the wall, if possible, slide your arms overhead. Continuing to maintain pressure and effort, slide back down to shoulder level. Repeat six to eight times.
Focus: Maintain a neutral spine (your low back is not pressing against the wall, but your abdominals are engaged, pulling your navel toward your spine).
Comments: The effort in the postural muscles in your upper back will help stretch the front of your shoulders, enabling you to have the flexibility and strength to maintain or improve your posture.
Targets: Low back (erector spinae, quadratus lumborum), buttocks (gluteals), and hamstrings.
Setup: Lie prone, with your neck in a neutral position. Pull your navel toward your spine
Move: With your arms stretched overhead, lift your arms/shoulders and feet/legs. Hold for a count of five, then release down. Do eight to twelve repetitions.
Focus: Focus on lengthening rather than lifting high. Try to keep your navel lifted off the floor.
Comments: If the exercise is too difficult, you could also break it into two exercise by lifting your arms and shoulders only—keeping your feet and legs on the floor—then doing the second set by keeping your arms and shoulders on the floor, lifting just your legs.