Did you know that there’s a lot more to your health than just diet and exercise? It’s true, though if you asked many people in the Downtown Vancouver area for a third key to good health you’d likely get a variety of answers – and many would likely overlook some important things. A perfect example of this is your posture, and it’s vital that you take the time to make sure it’s everything it should be.
Good posture is like the foundation on which you build the rest of your health and wellbeing. After all, a straight spine and good posture will have a tremendous impact on everything from your headaches to your mobility and beyond. And sadly, most people have poor posture without even realizing it. There are a lot of steps you can take to improve your posture – visiting a chiropractor like Dr. Stuart Kilian, paying attention to the way you walk or sit, and being mindful of it at all times are the basics. But understanding a few basic good posture exercises can help tremendously.
What Is Good Posture?
Before we get into the best posture exercises you can do, it’s important to understand just what good posture is and what it means to your health. Here’s a breakdown of some of the basic points.
- Good posture means a proper alignment of the spine and the muscles within the body.
- It can help reduce pressure and stress on joints, bones, and muscles.
- Good posture helps avoid making certain muscles work harder than others.
- You’ll have increased mobility and decreased pain as a result of long-term good posture.
Think of it this way – when your body isn’t aligned properly, motions and activities can place added stress on certain bones, joints, and muscles. Those muscles may end up having to work harder than others around them. This means that those muscles will grow stronger while others will weaken. In the process, muscular imbalances can lead to poorer posture which in turn leads to more problems.
As this occurs, pain, stiffness, and a wide range of other issues can happen. As a result, good posture is a must. In most cases, the proper posture is nothing more than ‘straight’. Envision a string hanging from the top of your head to your feet, perfectly straight and pulled taut by gravity. That’s what your spine should look like as well.
Good Posture Exercises
So with that in mind, how can you improve your posture? The first step is to get a clear picture of what posture should be in each position – standing, sitting, lying down, walking, etc. From here you’ll be able to determine more about what you’re doing wrong and what you’re doing correctly.
Now, here are some of the top exercises worth paying attention to when developing and improving your posture.
- Planks – Ask any fitness professional what the secret to better health is, and you’ll likely hear core strength mentioned early on in the response. A strong core is the foundation of good posture, and doing planks is one of the single best ways to build that strength. Just be sure to do them correctly to get the most from them.
- Side Bends With Weights – Whether you use a dumbbell or cans of soup or bottles of water, grab some weights with each hand and then, keeping your core body straight, do side bends to each side of the body. Repeat several times in order to get the full effect.
- Back Extension – This exercise involves lying down in the superman position, and then gradually lifting your head and shoulders as far off the floor as you can. In some cases, fitness professionals suggest raising the legs upwards as well. In either case, hold the position and keep your body aligned properly for as long as you can, then release and rest before repeating.
- Shoulder Rolls – This one focuses not only on better shoulder alignment and health, but on sitting posture. By sitting up straight and completing a series of shoulder rolls forwards, then backwards, you can help relieve some tension and also promote better posture.
- The Seated Twist – Another great sitting exercise you can do anywhere. Begin in a seated position and as you exhale, twist to the right using the arm of your chair to support yourself. Hold, then return to the starting position, rest for a beat, and repeat in the opposite direction.
- Crunch And Twist – Traditional sit-ups are gone now, replaced with a crunch that builds core strength and helps promote better posture. Assume the traditional sit-up position, but as you exhale lift one shoulder off the floor and rotate towards the other side before releasing and repeating in the opposite direction.
These are just a few exercises that can help your posture. Combine them with stretching routines and just being mindful of your posture throughout your day and you’ll be able to move towards a healthier, better level of wellbeing.
We mentioned seeing a chiropractor like Dr. Kilian earlier, and it’s worth mentioning again that these medical professionals can have a big impact on your posture and your spinal health. They can use spinal adjustments to help bring the spine into proper alignment and reduce subluxations, but along with this they can provide additional help as well including:
- More detailed instructions as to exercises and stretching that can correct posture problems.
- A breakdown of your posture and what you can do to improve any problems that may exist within it.
- The use of heat, cold, and electrical stimulation to help strengthen and heal muscles.
- Additional support for back pain, mobility problems, and other issues that may exist within the back.
Simply put, good posture has a tremendous influence on your health and wellbeing and it’s vital that you take the time to look into what you can do to improve yours. If you’re serious about feeling better, it’s worth taking the time to understand posture and how good yours is – and to consider visiting a chiropractor for more direct help with the process.