by Kathy Smith
If there’s one area of the body most of us overlook, it’s the back. Naturally, we focus on toning the muscles we can see — our abs, legs, arms, chest, and shoulders. People don’t go around saying, “Hey! You’ve got a terrific back!” But in reality, no muscle group deserves more attention.
Think of your body as a house. Long before you start decorating, you’ve got to build a strong foundation; otherwise the structure will cave in. The foundation for your body’s strength comes from your abdominal and lower back muscles. If they’re weak, your body isn’t going to hold up. At that point, the decorating — sculpted arms and shoulders, for instance, won’t matter.
You’re especially prone to weakening your back muscles by spending a lot of time sitting at a desk or driving a car. In those poor-posture-prone positions, your back muscles tend to stretch out. If ignored, they’ll eventually lose strength. However, if you strengthen them, you’ll counter-act the tendency to slouch. You’ll stand tall, look slimmer, and project a confident image. Try out the superman exercise below to help strengthen your upper, middle, and lower back.
How to do it:
- Lie face down on the floor. Keep the ribs and pubic bone on the floor, pulling your navel up off the floor.
- Lift your chest off the floor slightly, keeping your core firmly engaged, and extend the left arm and right leg off the floor.
- Return to the starting position, and switch sides.
Strengthening your back muscles in order to improve your posture will help you boost your confidence. Standing tall projects to the world that you feel good about yourself, and it will make you look 10 pounds thinner…not to mention a few years younger! As we age, we need to pay more attention to our posture. By making a conscious effort to stand up straight, you fight the effects of gravity on the body. You’ll look firmer, more toned, and younger.
Medically speaking, perfecting your posture makes sense. Years of slouching can weaken your bones and put a strain on your internal organs. But when the spine is properly aligned, you’ll find you’re breathing more deeply, sitting more comfortably, and walking with more vitality.
Here’s a head-to-toe demonstration of perfect posture:
Make it happen!