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8 Exercises for a Better Sitting Posture

Most of us spend a big part of our day sitting down, and often when we go home we forgo physical exercise for an evening in front of the TV or computer. All of these extended sitting sessions lead to us slouching in our chairs. Even if we start by sitting upright, eventually our muscles become fatigued, and we slouch, letting our bones take the brunt of the weight instead of our muscles. Over time, our bad sitting posture becomes our “regular” posture, and slouching can cause a host of problems: pain in the shoulders, joints, neck, lower back, knees, and even headaches. The following exercises will train the muscles in charge of supporting your spine, which will help you maintain the proper sitting position.
 
Better Posture
 

1. Strengthen your back with the “Warrior” pose

The “warrior” pose is an exercise that strengthens your thighs and stretches your arms significantly – both are areas that are important in reducing strain on your spine.

Better Posture

To perform this exercise, start by standing with your legs straight together, and your arms stretched up. Step forward with your right leg until your knee is at a 90° angle, and plant your foot firmly on the ground. Next, stretch your left leg back. Hold the position for 5-10 seconds, and then stand back up. Repeat with opposite legs.


2. Chest stretches

This exercise simulates pushups while in a standing position. It is designed to stretch your chest muscles and ease spinal pains.

Better Posture

Stand in an open doorway, place your hands at shoulder height outside the doorframe. Bend your elbows and lean forward on your toes while keeping your chest straight, and then push forward, straightening your elbows. Repeat this action 5-10 times. The more you perform this exercise, the more you’ll notice that it gets easier to bend your elbows and resume your initial stance. Your goal is to be able to do 10-25 repetitions with ease.


3. Strengthen your glutes

Hip and lower back pains are often the results of weakened glute muscles that are having problems carrying the weight of your spine. When our sitting posture is incorrect, it takes the pressure off of our glutes, which ends up weakening them more. By performing the following exercise regularly, you can relieve much of the pain caused by inactive glute muscles, and preventing new pain from occurring.

Better Posture

To perform this exercise, lay a mat on the floor and lie down on your back, with your knees bent at a 45° angle, and your legs held tightly together. Now push your buttocks up, until your knees are bent at a 90° angle. Keep your chest down, clench your buttocks while focusing on pushing your legs down to the floor. Maintain this position for a few seconds and release.

Better Posture

If the exercise feels too easy, try raising one leg up while pushing up your buttocks.


4. Shoulder-strengthening pushups

In addition to regular pushups, you can perform this variation that trains and strengthens your shoulders, which provides better support during prolonged periods of sitting.

Better Posture

Begin in the pushup position, with your body leaning on your straightened-out arms, palms facing down, your back straight, and your legs stretched back. Next, instead of bending your elbows, keep your arms straight and instead allow your shoulders to move (as seen in the animation above). Repeat this exercise until you can easily perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions.


5. Stretching your Trapezoids

This simply stretch improves your shoulder region’s flexibility where it connects to the spine. This will help your neck be more limber and prevent future pain in the area.

Better Posture

Begin by standing or sitting on a chair without a back. Keep your back straight, your arms loose at the sides of your body and your legs straight and touching the floor. With one hand, reach up to touch the opposite side of your head, gently pulling it towards the shoulder. Avoid exerting force to avoid injuring the region. Remember that your hand’s goal is to aid in the neck’s stretch, and not do it for it. Keep your head in this position for 30 seconds, release, and then repeat for the other side. Perform this stretch twice per side.

6. Chest expansion

The next exercise is meant to expand your chest in order to relieve pain in the spine and help you resume an upright sitting position. You will need a counterweight, such as a spongy roll, or a rolled-up yoga mat.

Better Posture

Lean back on the roll while maintaining a natural arch in your lower back and keeping your chest elevated. Put your hands behind your head, placing your palms on the back of your neck, and lean down, and then straighten back up. Be sure to keep your chin up to prevent unnecessary stretching of the neck. When leaning back, focus on expanding your ribcage. During this exercise, your lower back should remain static.


7. Strengthen the shoulder blades

The goal of this exercise is to move the bones that connect your collar bone and your arm, in order to stretch and train your back muscles and help them provide full support for your spine.

Better Posture

Stand up straight with your shoulders loose. Move your shoulder blades towards each other until they meet, and remain in this position for 5 seconds. Release and repeat 5 times.


8. Thigh muscles stretch

The hip muscles provide support for our backs, but most of us never associate back pains with weaker thigh muscles.

Better Posture

Begin by getting down on one knee, keeping it bent at a 90° angle, with your other leg pulled back, keeping your knee below your ankle.

It’s important to remember that performing these exercises once or twice a day will not counter 8 hours of sitting down, so make sure you’re aware of your posture when you’re sitting down and make an effort to take small breaks and perform mild physical exercise. However, following this routine will make it easier to resume a correct sitting position that won’t tire out your back.

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Related Topics: tips, health, exercise, sitting, bad posture
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