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How to Improve Posture: The 5 Best Posture Exercises

Developing and maintaining good posture is important to your health. Posture correction exercises can help alleviate and avoid pain, injury, and even health problems. If you have been wondering how to improve your posture, then read on. We’ve gathered five exercises for better posture, all of which you can do in the comfort of your own home. 

There are three natural curves to your spine, located at your neck, middle back, and lower back. Exercises to fix your posture support these natural curves and help your spine function normally. You can try these exercises to alleviate pain and soreness. 

There are two types of posture:

  • Dynamic posture is how your spine sits when you’re moving, such as when you’re walking, running, or bending over. 
  • Static posture is how your spine is aligned when you are still, such as when you’re standing, sitting, or sleeping. 

The exercises detailed below are all dynamic, but they support both types of posture. Both of these postures involve pressure put on the spine. When you don’t practice exercises for posture, your spine can experience pressure and pain, and that pain can radiate. Prolonged poor posture can cause a host of health problems, including: 

  • Neck, shoulder, and back pain
  • Decreased flexibility
  • Reduced balance 
  • Increased chance of falling
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty digesting food
  • Musculoskeletal misalignment
  • Increased fragility in the spine

Stretching your body and maintaining good sitting and standing practices can go a long way toward realigning your spine, reducing pain, and improving your posture. Yoga can be helpful in improving posture. It’s a collection of stretches and breathing exercises that gives your body more flexibility and helps with alignment. You can do these posture exercises at home, every morning or night. 

The following exercises may be able to reduce pain or symptoms from some posture-related health problems. Many of the exercises listed below are stretches commonly found in yoga. 

These exercises range from easy to medium difficulty. Posture correction exercises not only help with your posture, but also improve breathing and support the natural curves of your spine.

Exercises to fix posture should be done very slowly and gently. Don’t rush in and out of the exercises, or you could injure yourself. Be gentle with yourself, and allow your body to breathe into the poses. 

Plank pose stretches your spine and activates your core muscles. These muscles surround the core of your body and provide maximum support to your spine and back. To do a plank:

  • Get into a modified push-up position with your elbows at 90 degrees and forearms on the floor.
  • Lift yourself onto your toes, leaving your toes, elbows, and forearms on the ground.
  • Stare straight down at the floor.

This position leaves you with a straight line from the back of your head to your heels. Work toward holding this position for 30 seconds, then increase by 5 seconds every week. This can be one of the most important poses in improving posture, as core muscles are often overlooked in average daily living. These muscles are your spine’s support system and go a long way toward correcting your posture. If you only do one exercise to improve your posture, make it a plank.

Downward-facing dog is one of the most common exercises for posture, and it is used in many different styles of practice. You pull your body into an “A” shape, which takes tension off your spine and allows it to stretch. Taking slow, even breaths during this stretch helps your body settle and move into this stretch. 

  • Start on your hands and knees. 
  • Slowly put your weight on your hands, and lift your pelvis toward the ceiling.
  • Straighten your legs, but don’t lock your knees.
  • Keep your head straight, with your neck in line with your spine.
  • Extend your heels towards the floor.

As with plank pose, gradually work toward holding this pose for up to 30 seconds. The most important thing is to keep the base of your spine reaching toward the ceiling. Keep your knees unlocked and work to straighten them over time. Try to do downward-facing dog and plank exercises together in a 10- or 15-minute session to give your spine a deep stretch.

Bridge pose opens up your chest and helps you breathe fully. It can also help stretch and support your spine. Of the listed posture exercises, this one is the most difficult. To do a bridge pose:

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet firmly on the floor.
  • Press into the floor with your feet and arms and lift your hips toward the ceiling.
  • Use your body to lift your buttocks.
  • Roll your shoulders under your body and clasp your hands, pressing your forearms to the floor.

This pose is a great exercise if you tend to sit for long periods of time. If you have a desk job, these exercises can help improve your posture. Bridge pose counteracts the compression of your spine from long periods of sitting. 

Of the yoga-based exercises for posture, the cat–cow is the most comfortable and can give a sore spine relief immediately. Start with the cow pose, then move into the cat pose.

Cow pose:

  • Start with your hands and knees on the floor. Position your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
  • Drop your belly toward the floor.
  • Lift your chin and chest and look towards the ceiling, breathing deeply.

Cat pose:

  • Pull in your belly and arch your back toward the ceiling.
  • Aim the crown of your head toward the floor. Don’t force your chin toward your chest.
  • Breathe deeply to stretch out your spine.

This posture correction exercise increases your spine flexibility and helps you stretch out any sore spots from sitting too long or from poor posture. This is a gentle and easy exercise that you can do a couple of times in a row. If you experience pain in your back, shoulders, or neck, this pose can alleviate it and help correct your posture.

Posture exercises are not all stretches or yoga poses. This is a classic move that helps your dynamic posture stay aligned while you are moving. 

  • Place a book on your head, and balance it near the crown.
  • Keep your eyes looking straight ahead and your chin parallel to the ground.
  • Pull your shoulders slightly down and back, and keep your head in line with your spine. 
  • Walk slowly and look straight ahead. Stay mindful of your shoulders and chin, and keep your book balanced.
  • Practice slow, deliberate breathing as you walk to develop a natural rhythm. 

Be sure to choose a book that is weighty enough to feel on your head but not so heavy that it causes too much pressure on your spine. Exercises for better posture should help you develop strength and flexibility rather than cause a secondary problem. 

Here are a few other tips for fixing your posture. You can practice these while at work or at home: 

  • Maintain your balance when walking and standing by keeping your weight on the balls of your feet.
  • Don’t lock your knees when you stand; instead, keep them slightly bent.
  • Stand with your feet roughly shoulder-width apart.
  • Keep your head level with your earlobes in line with your shoulders.

These tips and exercises are helpful for both dynamic and static posture. Improving your posture alleviates pressure and tension on your spine. It also strengthens the core muscles surrounding your spine and increases your muscular support system. 

Use these exercises to support your spine when standing long hours or sitting at a desk. Do these posture correction exercises at least twice a week or as often as once a day. Not only can they reduce or improve pain and injury, but exercises for better posture can improve your breathing and make you feel confident and positive in your daily life.

https://medlineplus.gov/guidetogoodposture.html

https://www.bnl.gov/bera/activities/iaa/yoga.asp

https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2017/08/getting-it-straight

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