Strengthen Your Core For Better Posture

Photo Credit: Skoivuma CC-BY-3.0 2009

Poor posture can lead to tight muscles and a stiff, aching back. Maintaining good posture, especially when working at a desk 8 or more hours each day, can help prevent back aches. Strengthening your abdominal muscles and the muscles in your lower back can help you maintain good posture. A stronger core will also improve your balance and stamina. Add some core strengthening exercises to your regular routine to improve your posture. 
Leg extensions coordinate your core muscles to work together. Lie on your back and bend your knees. Keep your feet flat on the floor and place your hands behind your head. Roll your back until your lower back is on the floor. Tighten up  your abdominal muscles, breathe out and lift your head a few inches off the floor. Pull your left knee toward your chest and simultaneously extend your right leg straight out at a 45 degree angle from the floor. Hold this position for 5 seconds and then lift your leg toward the ceiling. Return to the start position and inhale. Repeat starting with the other leg. Do 10 repetitions if you can.
Roll-up exercises will strengthen all of your abdominal muscles and your obliques. Begin with your back on the floor and your legs stretched out straight. Stretch your arms toward the ceiling and press your lower back to the floor. Tighten your abdominal muscles, exhale and roll your body off the floor to a sitting position. Begin by rolling your head upward, then your shoulders, upper back and finally lower back. Try to roll up in a smooth, continuous motion. Inhale when you reach a sitting position. Exhale, tighten your abdominal muscles and reverse the roll until you return to the starting position. 

The crossover exercise also works all the core muscles. Again, begin on your back with your hands behind your head. Pull your knees to your chest and press your lower back to the floor. Tighten your abdominal muscles, breathe out. Pull one knee as close to your chest as possible and extend the other leg out straight. Roll your body toward the knee that is bent to your chest. Inhale and switch legs extending the bent knee, pulling your other knee toward your chest and rotating your torso in the opposite direction. Do 10 repetitions of this exercise. 

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