If you want to improve your posture, specific stretches and exercises can help. Many people today complain about having back pain and poor posture from sitting at a desk all day. Even ergonomic chairs are only sometimes enough to combat hours remaining in the same position. But getting physical activity outside of work, even if it’s just thirty minutes per day, can counteract the adverse effects of being sedentary.
You might think focusing on proper posture seems superficial or vain. However, knowing the right way to stand or sit doesn’t just affect your appearance. It also increases strength, flexibility, and energy in the body while reducing muscle pain. Standing tall and avoiding slouching is essential, as an awkward posture can strain muscles and joints immensely.
If you’d like to improve your posture, we’ll offer a few exercises to help you reach your goal.
6 Easy Exercises to Improve Posture and Reduce Neck and Back Pain
1. Child’s Pose for Less Back Pain
This simple yoga pose offers plenty of health benefits, including lengthening the spine, hamstrings, and glutes. It also relieves tension in the lower back and stretches the ankles, shoulders, and thighs. Since more people than ever suffer from lower back pain, this pose should become a staple in everyone’s workout routine.
How to do it:
- Begin on your knees and sit back on your heels while keeping your big toes touching. Separate your knees so that you can lay your torso in between them.
- Next, lean forward at your hips and walk your hands out as far as possible. You can either lean your forehead on the ground or use a pillow for extra comfort.
- Then, release your tailbone toward your heels and sink your hips back toward your feet. If you’re having trouble with the pose, you can place a pillow under your thighs for added support.
- Stay in this pose as long as you’d like, gently inhaling and exhaling throughout your practice. Breathe deeply and allow yourself to surrender into the posture.
- Remember to keep your arms extended in front of you or rest them alongside your legs with palms facing upwards.
2. Forward Fold to Improve Posture
A forward fold yoga pose can work wonders to improve posture. The standing stretch relieves tense muscles and joints in the spine, hamstring, and glutes while stretching the legs. It’s a great way to get the blood flowing to your brain as well!
How to do it:
- Stand with your feet together and heels slightly apart.
- Now, gently bring your hands down to your hips and lean forward to the floor.
- Rest your hands on the floor, ankles, or a yoga block. Please do whatever feels most comfortable for you.
- If you need to, bend your knees slightly to hold the position longer. Also, lengthen the spine as much as possible.
- Tuck your chin into your chest and allow your head to drop near your knees.
- Hold this pose for one or two minutes.
This stretch promotes spinal elasticity and can help improve your posture. You will surely love this pose if you suffer from chronic back pain. It opens up the back and relieves tension in the shoulders and neck. In addition, the cat-cow posture enhances blood circulation, bringing more oxygen into the body.
How to do it:
- Come onto all fours with your hands placed beneath the shoulders and knees directly below the hips.
- Now, inhale and look forward, engaging your abdomen as you extend your back.
- On the exhale, pull your chin toward your chest and lower your head. Pull your abdomen into your spinal column toward the ceiling.
- Continue alternating between cat and cow pose for at least five rounds.
4. Back Extension to Improve Posture
This exercise helps improve posture, strengthen the back muscles, and prevent spinal injuries. Most people are familiar with back extension machines at the gym, but you can also do this at home. You only need a mat and a foam roller to get started. Office workers and other employees who sit all day will appreciate this stretch.
How to do it:
- Begin by lying on a mat with your back facing the floor. Place the foam roller just beneath your shoulders for the back extension.
- Next, place your arms across your chest as if you’re hugging yourself.
- Bring your legs together and bend them at the knees.
- Now, exhale as you lift your chest, head, and shoulders off the floor. Lean your head backward and arch your spine as you stretch your lower back.
- Remember to breathe slowly and deeply and hold for at least ten seconds. Do at least ten reps of this exercise to improve posture.
5. Plank Pose Can Reduce Back Pain
The plank pose helps you develop abdominal strength and enhances balance. It also improves your posture and stamina while teaching you patience. Since you have to hold your body weight in this position, it’s an excellent overall workout.
How to do it:
- Come onto your hands and knees, and straighten your legs behind you. Bend your elbows slightly so that your weight rests on your forearms.
- Make sure to hold your body straight and avoid dropping the abdomen since this can cause back injuries. Hold your core muscles tightly while lengthening your neck and spine.
- Look down toward the floor and keep your chest open. Ensure that your shoulder muscles stay back and don’t become hunched around your neck.
- Hold this position for at least one minute or as long as possible.
6. Cobra Stretch to Improve Posture
This yoga pose offers one of the best ways to improve posture. The cobra stretch also up the lungs and chest to enhance breathing capacity. Finally, it lengthens the spine and even stretches the glutes and hamstrings.
How to do it:
- Begin by laying on the floor with your belly facing down. Place your palms beneath your shoulders, and lift your chest from the mat on an inhale.
- Straighten your arms in this same motion and hold your abdominal muscles tight.
- Next, ensure your head faces forward and keep your shoulder muscles engaged.
- If you’re doing the pose correctly, you should look like a cobra ready to attack. Hold this position for about 30 seconds or as long as possible. Release your breath as you lower yourself back onto the mat.
Final Thoughts on Trying These Six Yoga Poses to Improve Posture and Relieve Back Pain
Many exercises exist to improve posture, enhance strength, and increase flexibility. Most people think of the gym when it comes to workouts, but you can do these postures in the comfort of your home. All you need to get started is a mat, foam roller, and a quiet place to relax. Thankfully, these poses are relatively easy for beginners and can restore balance in the body.