The Benefits of Proper Posture
Good posture is one of the first steps for helping to reduce back and neck pain. When someone slouches, it is shown to add strain on his or her muscles and add additional stress to the spine. This may result in changes to the anatomical characteristics of the spine, causing constricted nerves and blood vessels and may also lead to problems with your muscles, discs, and joints.
By strengthening your back muscles, you can help improve your posture. Read on to find five back exercises shown to help promote proper posture.
There are numerous benefits you receive from having good posture. The main advantages of correct posture are
- Proper alignment of the body's joints, bones helping with muscles more correctly used.
- Ligaments that hold the joints of our spine together will be under less stress.
- Less chance of pulled back muscle from fatigue caused by the additional stress that bad posture causes
- Helps decrease the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces.
- Prevents the spine from becoming fixed in abnormal positions.
- Limits backache and muscular pain.
It is important to perform pull exercises (rowing) with a 2: 1 ratio compared to push exercises (bench press) to ensure you do not create muscle imbalances causing you to hunch forward. Strengthing your back will help your body to pull your shoulders naturally back instead of the muscles wanting to hunch forward.
5 Back Exercises that Promote Proper Posture
If you have a medical condition or injury, consult your GP or physiotherapist before doing these exercises.
Cobra Pose: Back Extension
Why It is Good for You: Your erector spinae (the back muscles that extend your spine and prevent slouching) and lower back muscles will be strengthened by this exercise.
- Begin by laying on your stomach with your palms flat on the floor close to the ribs.
- Extend your legs straight behind you; then you use the tops of your feet to press into the ground.
- Exhale sharply your abdominal muscles should be pulled in and up moving toward your spine.
- Lengthen out through your spine then you need to raise your head and chest slowly off of the floor, focus on only using your back muscles. Make sure that you do not push down with your arms to press up. Your hip bones need to stay on the floor, then look down toward the floor and relax your neck muscles.
- Now slowly lower back down.
- How to increase the intensity of this exercise, place your arms beside your head and keep your elbows straight.
- Begin with a 2- 5 lb dumbells in each hand and arms extended out and in line with your shoulders then lie face down on your belly centered on a stability ball with your legs extended behind you. Your feet should be slightly wider than shoulder width.
- Extend arms toward the ground to make a “Y,” palms facing each other [A].
- Raise weights overhead [B], lower; repeat. Aim for 12 to 15 reps.
Christianne Wolff, a Pilates instructor, recommends this exercise since it will help to support the lumbar spine and help prevent bad back posture. Baack strengthener focuses on are core-stability muscles that wrap around our midsection.
- Begin by getting on all fours, place your knees under the hips and your hands under your shoulders.
- Take a deep breath and as you exhale lift your left leg and right arm out the goal is to move your arm and leg in line with your back.
- Make sure you are not leaning into the right hip and focus on using your core-stability muscles for balance.
- Now inhale and lower your arm and leg back to the starting position make sure to have your limbs reach the floor at the same time.
- Exhale and repeat the movement with your right leg and left arm (you should be moving with each breath).
- Repeat for 10 to 20 reps
Right-Angle Press (requires a body bar)
- Hold the body bar in front of you at chest height.
- Bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle with your palms facing the ground.
- Your feet should be shoulder width apart
- Have your upper arms parallel to ground and rotate shoulders back and move the bar behind your head.
- Lower the bar back to the starting position and repeat for 12 to 20 reps.
High Row (requires resistance tube)
- Place resistance tube at chest level and anchor
- exercise can be performed well seated on a stability ball chair, or you can stand.
- Hold handles in front of you at chest level shoulder width apart
- Palms are to be facing the ground
- Bend elbows, drawing hands toward shoulders
- Return to starting position and repeat. Do 15 to 20 reps.
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