Exercises to Improve Posture

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By having correct posture, the rest of your body is able to function properly. Proper bodily alignment allows your organs, bones, tendons and ligaments to perform at optimum strength. Here are some of the best exercises to strengthen your body and in turn improve your posture.

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#1: Plank
Proper posture starts with a strong core and the plank exercise is great to strengthen and tone the entire core.

How to do it: There are a few variations of planks, but to improve your posture a forearm or high plank is best. For a forearm plank lay on the ground or an exercise mat with your belly on the floor. Prop yourself up on your forearms and toes with palms flat on the ground. Your body should be perfectly in line. Sometimes it can help to practice in front of a mirror until you get your form down. You can also do high plank. With this keep your body in line the same but you’ll be propped up on your palms and toes, with arms extended underneath you. Be sure to position your palms directly under your shoulders for high plank and your elbows under your shoulders for forearm plank. Try to hold whichever plank position you choose for 30 seconds to one minute.

#2: Shoulder roll
While not necessarily a strenuous exercise, this move is great to improve your posture and release tension in your neck, shoulders and upper back.

How you do it: Begin in a comfortable seated or standing position. Move your shoulders towards your ears and back in a smooth motion. Try to pinch your shoulder blades together at the back of the motion before you return to the starting position. Do 10 rolls, five forward and five backward.   

#3: Chair Pose
A classic yoga pose, this move will simultaneously tone your body and improve your posture. 

How you do it: Stand with your feet together. On an exhale, sink your hips and bend your knees. Be careful to not let your knees go over your ankles. Take a look at your feet, if you can’t see the tops of your toes, move your knees back. Keep your back straight and your core engaged. Your gaze should remain forward. Raise your arms over your head, in line with your ears. Each time you exhale try to lower deeper into the position.

#4: Cat/Cow
This yoga pose is a common stretch after a practice and helps the body comfortably find better posture.

How you do it: Begin in table top position with your palms under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. On an exhale sink your torso towards the floor and lift your gaze to the ceiling. You should feel a nice stretch through your abs and neck. On an inhale return to starting position and push through it, arching your back and moving your gaze to the floor, almost looking behind you. Move through these two motions five total times, following your natural inhales and exhales.

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