I grew up in a house with a mother who never yelled at us about “sitting up straight”, but as a result of taking piano lessons, I was always painfully aware of posture.
In fact, as a child, other kids used to make fun of me for sitting so straight and tall, something that made me slightly insecure. Now I’m grateful for the good posture habits I developed.
Why is Good Posture Important?
Good posture is important for several reasons. Not only will you appear more confident and look as much as ten pounds lighter, maintaining good posture allows your muscles, joints, bones, and ligaments to function properly. When you are keeping proper posture, you put less stress on your body, allowing it to function in the correct form. Strengthen your core and improve your slouching with a few easy exercises.
Sit ups on a BOSU Ball for Stronger Abdominals and Obliques
Performing sit ups on either a stability ball or BOSU engages more of your abdominal muscles for support. Sit on a BOSU ball so that only your lower back is in contact with the ball. With legs bent in front of you, feet resting on the floor, crunch forward while reaching toward your left knee as you bring it toward your chest. Slowly return left leg to near starting position as you lean back, without allowing your foot to rest on the floor again. Do ten repetitions on left side before switching to the right.
Assisted Pull-Up Machine
If you choose a wider grip, you will be enlisting more of your upper back (specifically, your lattismus dorsi). A narrower grip will target your mid-back. The more weight you select, the easier your pull-ups become, since the machine is counterbalancing your own weight. In other words, the more weight you choose, the less of your own you are lifting. Stand (or kneel, depending on the machine) tall engaging your core as you pull yourself up until your chin is parallel with the grips.
*If you don’t have access to a gym, enlist a partner for this exercise. Use any available bar to you—even the monkey bars at your children’s playground. With bent knees, rest your shins in your partner’s hands and have her give you additional boosts up to the bar, as needed. Try to do three sets of ten.
Bent-Over Fly on Stability Ball
This exercise targets your rear shoulders and upper back. Sit on a stability ball with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing each other. Bend forward until your chest almost touches your thighs, with arms straight down below your shoulders. Slowly raise your arms up and out until they are parallel with the floor, palms now facing down. Return to starting position and repeat for a total of twelve times. Aim for three sets.
Crunches with Dumbbell
Targeting your upper abs will aid in better posture, as well. Lie face up with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Hold a dumbbell on either end while resting it on your chest. Your arms should be relaxed, elbows pointing outward. Curl your head and upper back off of the floor, hold for one count at the top, lower yourself back down and repeat. Try to do three sets of fifteen.