6 Exercises for Better Posture

Want the lean look and elegant stance of a yoga or Pilates teacher? It all starts with good posture.

The best way to improve your posture is to focus on exercises that strengthen your core — the abdominal and low back muscles that connect to your spine and pelvis.

Some of these muscles move your torso by flexing, extending, or rotating your spine. Others stabilize your pelvis and spine in a natural, neutral position. Old-style sit-ups used only a few of these muscles, often with jerky momentum. Today’s yoga, Pilates, and core fitness programs target your entire core with slow, controlled movements to get the most out of your workout.

Your Workout Plan

Make these posture-boosting exercises a regular part of your routine. Remember to exhale strongly and pull in your core muscles as you work — a key principle in both Pilates and yoga.

1. Core Stabilizer: Single Leg Extension

Why It’s Good for You: This move trains your core muscles to work together to stabilize your pelvis.
Starting Position: Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and hands behind your head. Press your low back into the floor, and curl your head up off the floor.
The Move: Exhale strongly and pull your navel in and up toward your spine. Slowly pull one knee into your chest, keeping your low back pressed to the floor, while extending your other leg straight at about a 45-degree angle off the floor. Keep your abdominals pulled in and your low back on the floor. If your low back arches off the floor, extend your leg higher toward the ceiling. Switch legs. Start with five to 10 extensions on each side.
Increase the Intensity: Pull both knees into your chest, then extend both legs straight at about a 45-degree angle, using your core to keep your low back on the floor. Or, as you extend your legs, extend both arms overhead, reaching in the opposite direction from your legs.

2. The New Crunch

Why It’s Good for You: Also called a “curl-up,” this exercise works the rectus abdominis (the six-pack muscle) and obliques (which run diagonally around your waist and rotate your torso).
Starting Position: Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Press your low back into the floor. Place your hands behind your head, or reach your arms toward your knees if it doesn’t create too much tension in your neck.
The Move: Exhale strongly and pull your navel in and up toward your spine. Curl your head and shoulders slowly off the floor. Hold, then slowly lower back down. Repeat three times
Increase the Intensity: Extend one leg straight at a 45-degree angle toward the ceiling. Or hold both legs off the floor, knees bent, with your shins parallel to the floor

3. Pilates Roll-Up / Yoga Sit-Up

Why It’s Good for You: This move works the rectus abdominis, obliques, and transverse abdominis (the deepest core muscles that wrap around your waist like a corset and pull your abdomen inward and upward toward your spine.)
Starting Position: Lie on your back with your legs straight, your feet flexed, and your arms reaching overhead on the floor. Press your low back into the floor.
The Move: Exhale strongly and pull your navel in and up toward your spine. Roll up in slow motion, reaching your arms off the floor, then your shoulders and head, rolling up one vertebra at a time until you’re sitting up with your abdominals still pulled in. Slowly roll back down. Repeat three to five times, adding more as your core gets stronger.
Increase the Intensity: Cross your arms over your chest as you roll up.

4. Crossover

Why It’s Good for You: This exercise works all the core muscles, focusing on the obliques.
Starting Position: Lie on your back with your hands behind your head, your chest lifted off the floor, knees pulled into your chest. Keep your low back pressed into the floor.
The Move: Exhale strongly and pull your navel in and up toward your spine. Pull one knee into your chest while extending your other leg straight and rotating your torso toward the bent knee. Slowly switch legs, pulling the other knee into your chest and rotating your torso toward it while extending the opposite leg off the floor. Repeat five to 10 times, adding more as your core gets stronger
Increase the Intensity: The closer your straight leg is to the floor, the harder the work for your core. Try extending your leg just inches off the floor, making sure your lower back stays on the floor.

5. Cobra Pose: Back Extension

Why It’s Good for You: This move strengthens the erector spinae (the back muscles that extend your spine and prevent slouching) and other low back muscles.
Starting Position: Lie on your stomach with palms flat on the floor near your ribs. Extend your legs straight behind you, and press the tops of your feet into the floor.
The Move: Exhale strongly and pull your abdominal muscles in and up toward your spine. Lengthen out through your spine and slowly raise your head and chest off the floor, using only your back muscles. Do not push down into your arms to press up. Keep your hip bones on the floor, and gaze down at the floor to relax your neck muscles. Slowly lower back down. Repeat three to five times, adding more as your lower back gets stronger
Increase the Intensity: Reach your arms long beside your head. Keep your elbows straight.

6. Plank Pose

Why It’s Good for You: This exercise strengthens the obliques and transverse abdominis, as well as your shoulder and back muscles.
Starting Position: Begin on your hands and knees with your palms under your shoulders. Extend both legs straight behind you, toes tucked under, into a position like the top of a pushup. Pull your abdominal muscles in to prevent a “sway back,” and gaze down at the floor.
The Move: Hold the plank until you start feeling fatigued. Rest and then repeat. Keep your abdominals pulled in and up so your low back doesn’t sag as you exhale.
Increase the Intensity: Balance on your forearms instead of your hands.

15 Ways to Improve Your Body Language

What you do might be interpreted in several ways, depending on the setting and who you are talking to. You’ll probably want to use your body language differently when talking to your boss compared to when you talk to a girl/guy you’re interested in. These are some common interpretations of body language and often more effective ways to communicate with your body.

First, to change your body language you must be aware of your body language. Notice how you sit, how you stand, how you use you hands and legs, what you do while talking to someone.

You might want to practice in front of a mirror. Yeah, it might seem silly but no one is watching you. This will give you good feedback on how you look to other people and give you an opportunity to practise a bit before going out into the world.

Another tip is to close your eyes and visualize how you would stand and sit to feel confident, open and relaxed or whatever you want to communicate. See yourself move like that version of yourself. Then try it out.

You might also want observe friends, role models, movie stars or other people you think has good body language. Observe what they do and you don’t. Take bits and pieces you like from different people. Try using what you can learn from them.

In the beginning easy it’s to exaggerate your body language. You might sit with your legs almost ridiculously far apart or sit up straight in a tense pose all the time. That’s ok. And people aren’t looking as much as you think, they are worrying about their own problems. Just play around a bit, practice and monitor yourself to find a comfortable balance.

1. Don’t cross your arms or legsYou have probably already heard you shouldn’t cross your arms as it might make you seem defensive or guarded. This goes for your legs too. Keep your arms and legs open.

2. Have eye contact, but don’t stare – If there are several people you are talking to, give them all some eye contact to create a better connection and see if they are listening. Keeping too much eye-contact might creep people out. Giving no eye-contact might make you seem insecure. If you are not used to keeping eye-contact it might feel a little hard or scary in the beginning but keep working on it and you’ll get used to it.

3. Don’t be afraid to take up some space – Taking up space by for example sitting or standing with your legs apart a bit signals self-confidence and that you are comfortable in your own skin.

4. Relax your shoulders. When you feel tense it’s easily winds up as tension in your shoulders. They might move up and forward a bit. Try to relax. Try to loosen up by shaking the shoulders a bit and move them back slightly.

5. Nod when they are talking – nod once in a while to signal that you are listening. But don’t overdo it and peck like Woody Woodpecker.

6. Don’t slouch, sit up straight – but in a relaxed way, not in a too tense manner.

7. Lean, but not too muchIf you want to show that you are interested in what someone is saying, lean toward the person talking. If you want to show that you’re confident in yourself and relaxed lean back a bit. But don’t lean in too much or you might seem needy and desperate for some approval. Or lean back too much or you might seem arrogant and distant.

8. Smile and laugh  Lighten up, don’t take yourself too seriously. Relax a bit, smile and laugh when someone says something funny. People will be a lot more inclined to listen to you if you seem to be a positive person. But don’t be the first to laugh at your own jokes, it makes you seem nervous and needy. Smile when you are introduced to someone but don’t keep a smile plastered on your face, you’ll seem insincere.

9. Don’t touch your face – it might make you seem nervous and can be distracting for the listeners or the people in the conversation.

10. Keep your head up – Don’t keep your eyes on the ground, it might make you seem insecure and a bit lost. Keep your head up straight and your eyes towards the horizon.

11. Slow down a bit – this goes for many things. Walking slower not only makes you seem more calm and confident, it will also make you feel less stressed. If someone addresses you, don’t snap your neck in their direction, turn it a bit more slowly instead.

12. Don’t fidget and try to avoid, phase out or transform fidgety movement and nervous ticks such as shaking your leg or tapping your fingers against the table rapidly. You’ll seem nervous and fidgeting can be a distracting when you try to get something across. Declutter your movements if you are all over the place. Try to relax, slow down and focus your movements.

13. Use your hands more confidently instead of fidgeting with your hands and scratching your face use them to communicate what you are trying to say. Use your hands to describe something or to add weight to a point you are trying to make. But don’t use them to much or it might become distracting. And don’t let your hands flail around, use them with some control.

14. Lower your drink. Don’t hold your drink in front of your chest. In fact, don’t hold anything in front of your heart as it will make you seem guarded and distant. Lower it and hold it beside your leg instead.

15. Realize where you spine ends – many people (including me until recently) might sit or stand with a straight back in a good posture. However, they might think that the spine ends where the neck begins and therefore crane the neck forward in a Montgomery Burns-pose. Your spine ends in the back of your head. Keep you whole spine straight and aligned for better posture.

Take a couple of these body language bits to work on every day for three to four weeks. By then they should have developed into new habits and something you’ll do without even thinking about it. If not, keep on until it sticks. Then take another couple of things you’d like to change and work on them.

Importance of Posture

Posture – Why it matters

         Health – It’s not just kids with backpacks or cane-carrying seniors… Studies show poor posture is a major cause of back and neck pain for all ages, and over time often contributes to digestive, respiratory and cardiopulmonary problems. Hours of hunching over a computer, slouching while texting, slumping while playing video games, sitting at work, at home, and during travel is affecting your posture.

         Performance – Optimal athletic performance requires strong posture and balance. Whether athletics are recreational, competitive or part of an active lifestyle, training core stabilization, fluid coordinated motion, balance and good posture are essential to perform at your best and avoid injury.

         Appearance – Your posture is how the world sees you. People with strong posture look better, more appealing, younger, more radiant, trimmer, and are perceived to be more confident.

 

 

Importance of Posture

Posture research continues to show the importance of posture in everything we do from work to play. Strengthening posture is one of the most important strategies to keep your body active and moving well, with the added benefit of looking younger and in many cases, more slender.