Good posture is vital for several reasons. We’ve touched lightly on how posture and back pain are linked in How Improving Your Back Pain Improves Your Posture. Good posture can also make you look poised and confident, and research shows that, in fact, good posture actually boosts your self-esteem and energy and lower stress. But good posture is also a helpful tool for those who want to get in shape in terms of their weight. Health experts say that good posture can help you to look up to ten pounds thinner.
Actually, it’s more accurate to say that bad posture can cause you to look up to ten pounds heavier than you actually are. Bad posture can make you look shorter than you are and slouching creates stomach rolls that might not exist with proper posture. Straightening out your spine will get rid of those rolls and it helps to burn calories and tone the muscles in your core so that it can help you not only look ten pounds lighter, but actually lose excess body fat.
Perhaps the best way to become more adjusted to good posture is through exercise. Here are a few exercises that can help tighten your core and straighten your spine:
- Crunches: Lie flat on your back, knees bent upwards and feet planted flat on the floor. With your hands behind your head or over your chest, lift your head and shoulders off the floor. It’s important to lift with your shoulders, keeping your spine as straight as possible. Crunches help to tone the core and support the spine.
- Planks: With your forearms on the ground, bend your elbows at a 90 degree angle directly below the shoulders. Plant your toes against the floor and hold this position for twenty seconds at a time. You should be facing forward, your spine completely straight. This exercise can tone the core, but it also helps you to get in the habit of straightening your spine.
- Dumbbells: There are several dumbbell exercises that can help foster good posture. One of the most popular is dumbbell rows. For this exercise, lean forward so that your back is parallel to the floor, bend the knees, and pull each dumbbell (one at a time) off the floor and towards your stomach. For this exercise, it helps to have a workout bench. Bend one knee over the workout bench while keeping the other leg straight, planted on the ground. This exercise strengthens the muscles in your back.
- Hyperextensions: Start out by lying flat on your stomach, arms out and palms down in front of you, legs flat behind you. Lift your right arm and left leg and stretch them out as far as you can. Hold that position for about five seconds, and then switch appendages. This exercise stretches out the muscles in your back and tightens your abs.
- Single-Leg Extensions: This exercise is simple, but as effective as the rest. Start by lying on your back, knees bent upwards. As you start to move, pull one knee towards your chest and stretch the other at a 45 degree angle. As your lower back lifts from the floor, stretch your extended leg towards the ceiling and when it’s thoroughly stretched, switch legs and repeat. This exercise helps by supporting the pelvis, and therefore the rest of your posture.
Starting these exercises might be difficult if you are one of many people who suffer from chronic back pain. This is where our Lumbar Sciatica Pain Relief Wrap comes in handy. This is a comfortable wrap for the lower back which contains a cool thermal wax that stays cool for hours, relieving the pain of your lower back. Putting this wrap on before exercising will significantly free your movement and enable you to complete the exercises without exacerbated back pain.
Bad posture can be a difficult habit to break once it’s begun. If you catch yourself slouching or bending your head forward, take a moment to sit up a little straighter and do some stretches if you can to keep your posture in shape.