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3 Easy Exercises to Improve Your Posture and Balance

3 Easy Exercises to Improve Your Posture and Balance

Growing up, you’ve probably heard your parents and teachers say things like “stand up straight” and “chest out, stomach in.” Or they might have suggested that you walk while balancing a book on your head. These timeless pieces of advice encourage correct posture. What’s the importance of proper form, and are there exercises to improve our posture and balance?

How Good Posture Can Benefit Your Health

What does “good posture” look like?

Before we enumerate the importance of maintaining proper posture, let’s first examine what “good posture” entails. According to Harvard Health, good posture means:

  • Your chin is parallel to the floor
  • You have even shoulders, hips, and knees
  • Your spine is neutral (not flexed or overarched)
  • You have braced abdominal muscles
  • Your knees are pointing straight ahead
  • Your weight is evenly distributed on your feet

While you’re sitting, your chin should remain parallel to the floor. Likewise, your shoulders, hips, and knees must be even in heights.

Why is it important to have a good posture?

With all the things happening around us, our posture seems to be the least of our concerns. But, according to experts, maintaining a good form is crucial for our health. Poor posture can:

  • Cause back, shoulder, and neck pain
  • Weaken the spine, making it more vulnerable to injuries
  • Affect joint movements
  • Affect your balance and increase the risk of fall accidents
  • Make it hard for you to breathe
  • Make it hard for you to digest food

To summarize, maintaining good posture can prevent pain, injuries, and accidents. It can also improve our ease of movement, breathing, digestion, and of course, our balance.

exercises to improve posture and balance

Are there exercises to improve your posture and balance?

If you want to improve your posture and balance, consider the following exercises. Don’t worry about them being too hard; these exercises are simple, gentle, and don’t require special equipment.

Seated cat/cow

Cat/cow is a simple yoga pose. You can do it while sitting down to exercise your back and spine. This pose is also a great way to take a break while working in front of your computer.

Instructions:

  1. Sit on a sturdy chair with your hands on your knees and your feet flat on the floor.
  2. As you inhale, lift your chin and chest forward.
  3. As you exhale, tuck your chin towards your chest and round your spine.
  4. Repeat for as long as you’re comfortable.

You can do another version of the cat/cow pose while you’re on your hands and knees. Start with your spine in a neutral position.

  1. As you inhale, lift your chest and chin as you arch your lower back and point your butt upwards.
  2. As you exhale, draw your chin to your chest and round your belly towards your spine.
  3. Repeat for as long as you’re comfortable.

One-foot stand

One-foot stand, also called quadriceps stretch, is one great way to improve your posture. Another advantage to this exercise is that you can do it anytime and anywhere. You’ll find that if you’re slouching or slumping, balancing on one foot becomes difficult.

Instructions:

  1. Do this exercise near sturdy furniture or a wall for support in case you lose your balance.
  2. Stand with your right foot and, using your left hand, grab your left foot towards your butt.
  3. Hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds or for as long as you’re comfortable.
  4. Change legs and repeat as you see fit.

Plank

And, of course, there’s the classic plank. When done correctly, planks can be useful for people with hyperextension or over arching of the low back.

Instructions:

  1. Get into position by lying on your front, with your forearms and toes propping you up.
  2. Make sure that your elbows are directly below your shoulders.
  3. Keep your abdominal muscles braced, hips raised, and legs straight.
  4. Hold the position for 5 to 10 seconds or for as long as you’re comfortable.

How to Reduce the Effects of Sitting All Day

These exercises to improve your posture and balance are simple, effective, and gentle. Still, don’t push yourself too hard. If you experience symptoms like severe shortness of breath, dizziness, or chest pain, stop immediately and consult a doctor.

Learn more about Orthopedics here.

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Sources

Why good posture matters
https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/why-good-posture-matters
Accessed December 2, 2020

Balance exercises
https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/balance-exercises/
Accessed December 2, 2020

Balance Exercise
https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/balance-exercise
Accessed December 2, 2020

Common posture mistakes and fixes
https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/common-posture-mistakes-and-fixes/
Accessed December 2, 2020

Guide to Good Posture
https://medlineplus.gov/guidetogoodposture.html
Accessed December 2, 2020

Picture of the author
Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. on Dec 09, 2020
Medically reviewed by Danielle Joanne Munji, OTRP
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