Poor posture leads to potential back pain and abdominal weakness. It also can make you look and feel heavier, and convey a poor message via body language. Sitting at a desk for a long period of time each day can cause you to slouch without even realizing it. With some basic exercises and a little effort, however, these issues can be simple to fix.
Against the Wall
Stand up straight with your back against a wall. Your heels should be about 3 inches from the wall, according to the American Physical Therapy Association, and your feet about 6-inches apart. Keeping your arms at your side and your palms forward, make sure your ankles are straight and your lower back is close to the wall. Let the back of your head touch the wall while keeping your chin tucked in. Tighten your abdominal muscles, trying to flatten your abdominal area. Hold this position for about 10 seconds. Breath normally throughout. Repeat three or four times at least three times a day.
While sitting in a straight-back chair without arms, keep both feet together and flat on the floor in front of you. Your arms should be at your sides, pointing toward the floor, with your palms face out. Lift your chest and straighten your back. Keeping your head erect and your shoulders against the back of the chair, lift and tighten your abdominal muscles and hold for 10 seconds. Try and breathe normally and keep the rest of your body relaxed, according to the APTA. Relax your muscles and then repeat three or four times at least three times a day.
Lying flat on your back, place your hands by the side your head and stretch them above your head until they are fully extended. Extend your legs straight out as well. Take a breathe in and slowly stretch your arms and legs out at the same time. Remain stretched out for a count of five to 10 seconds and then slowly release your breath and relax. Repeat several times each time.
Stand up straight and join your hands at your lower abdomen. Cup them so the fit around your lower abdominal muscles. Pull up and in with your lower abdominal muscles, using your hands to stabilize your muscles. Hold this position for 10 seconds, and then relax. Repeat five times at least three times a day.
Michelle Hogan is a writer and the author of 13 books including the 2005 bestselling memoir, "Without a Net: Middle Class and Homeless (With Kids) in America." Hogan studied English at American University and has been writing professionally since 1998. Her work has appeared in "The New York Times," "Redbook," "Family Circle" and many other publications.