How Can I Improve My Posture?
Summit Orthopedics offers some helpful tips about improving your posture.
When you think of “posture,” you may think of a person standing up with the back straight, shoulder blades back, and head up. But the truth is, your posture changes minute to minute, as you’re sitting at a desk, standing on one leg to put on pants, or bending over to pick something up off the floor.
Our bodies are fluid, and our life demands us to be in a variety of different positions all day long. Instead of thinking about posture as a single, rigid position, think about how your body feels as you’re going about your day.
The foundation to good posture is listening to your body. If you have pain in a certain area, paying attention to your posture can help you key into some dysfunction or tightness that might be linked to that pain.
There are a few posture exercises that everyone can benefit from, and they are simple to do.
Posture exercise 1: chin tuck
Many of us spend a lot of time with our heads pitched forward, out of alignment with our spines. We call this position “text head.” A chin tuck can help retrain the body to avoid that forward head posture.
To do a chin tuck:
- Lie on your back, on top of a towel.
- Slide the base of your head up while gently tucking your chin. Think about your lengthening your neck up the towel.
- Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 15–20 times.
Posture exercise 2: cat-cow stretch
- Start on your hands and knees.
- Inhale and arch your back up toward the sky (cat position).
- Exhale and drop your belly down toward the floor (cow position).
- Alternate between these positions slowly, moving with your breath.
- Complete the movement 15–20 times.
- As you move through the positions, focus on the places where you feel stuck or pain.
Posture exercise 3: mid-back stretch
This exercise addresses the twisting and turning motions that our bodies are constantly doing.
- Lie on your side, with a pillow between the knees.
- Pull your knees toward your chest, with your fingers by your ear.
- Take a big inhale down to your low back, and as you exhale, rotate your body backward.
You should feel a good gentle stretch. Using your breath with the stretch will help you find a few extra degrees in your range of motion.
Posture exercise 4: shoulder shrugs
- Shrug your shoulders up as high as possible.
- Let it go, and drop your shoulders as far as they can.
- As you do, think about how much tension you’re holding in your shoulders.
Many of us walk around all day with our shoulders up tight. This exercise will show you how far away from the ears your shoulders should sit.
Posture exercise 5: reverse fly
- Start in a lunge position, or kneel down on a pillow.
- Tuck your bottom under, so your pubic bone is up toward the sky.
- You can use a resistance band if you have one, or you can imagine a band.
- Focus on pulling the band apart with your elbows mostly straight from the pinky side of the hand. Your shoulder blades will come down and together.
- Start with 10 repetitions, and hold for 3 seconds each.
Don’t pull too far, so that your shoulders start to round forward — we want to avoid that.
In the end, it’s OK if we don’t have picture-perfect posture at all times. However, improving your posture can have a range of benefits. Good posture throughout the day sets our body up for optimal movement, supports optimal pressure management, and decreases potential for pain and injury.
Summit Orthopedics supports healthy communities
Community health flourishes when specialized orthopedic care is conveniently available close to home. Summit Orthopedics is proud of our fellowship-trained subspecialty teams offering the full spectrum of orthopedic expertise in bone, tendon, ligament, muscle, and joint conditions—in addition to our wellness, prevention, and rehabilitation services. We have the expertise to proactively improve fitness, evaluate discomfort, and deliver personalized treatment to quickly and safely return you to the lifestyle you love.
Start your journey to a healthier, more active self. Visit our Facebook page to learn about our wellness services and schedule a free wellness consultation online. Find your orthopedic expert, request an appointment online, or call us at (651) 968–5201 to schedule a consultation.
Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MN, Plymouth, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as several additional community clinics.
More resources for you:
- Avoid back pain with these smart standing tips.
- Learn how plank exercises can help you build a strong core.
- Stop your computer from hurting your posture.
- Find out if standing desks are good for your posture
Summit physical therapist Joe Herdzina, PT, DPT, OCS, SCS, says these stretches take only minutes and can have big results on your back health.
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