With many of us tied to our desks for hours on end, it can be easy to experience pain and discomfort which can ultimately lead to poor posture. Bad posture can also be caused by technology use, stress and anxiety, muscle weakness, injury and genetics. In turn, poor posture can lead to an increase in headaches, back pain, rounded shoulders, difficulty breathing and many other health concerns.
Good posture can help us breathe easier, digest food easier and feel more confident in life and work. To correct your posture, you want to focus on exercises that build your core and back muscles, lengthen your spine and stretch your body. Whether starting your day with them or incorporating them into your routine when you unwind from work, here are a few exercises to help get you started.
Cat and Cow Pose
Aside from helping to correct your posture, cat and cow pose is great for improving focus and coordination, while providing mental clarity—all beneficial to tackle a long workday.
To begin, get on all fours. Then get into cat pose by curling your shoulders downward and pushing your hips toward the ground to curve your back upward. Follow into cow pose by pushing your hips upward and your stomach toward the ground. Alternate between cat and cow pose for one minute.
Not only does forward fold help improve your posture, but it can also help relieve stress and calm the mind. Grab your most comfortable workout clothes, a quiet spot near your desk and get ready to feel a stretch that will relieve the stress and tension the workday can bring.
Begin this exercise in a standing position. Then, bend over to bring your hands down to your feet or down as long as you can go. Leave your hands on the ground next to your feet or grab your ankles. Hold this pose for one minute.
When sitting at a desk for too long, our hips and lower back naturally become tight. Pigeon pose helps relieve tension in these areas which supports mobility, flexibility and posture. Begin this stretch in downward-facing dog. Then, step your right foot forward into a lunge and bring your right shin to the ground, perpendicular to your body. Bring your left leg down to the ground behind you and hold for one minute. Once you’ve got a good stretch, switch legs.
Poor posture is sometimes inevitable when working at a desk for long periods of time, but the good news: it can be corrected. For more exercises you can incorporate into your workday to help improve your posture at work and stand up straighter, check out the infographic below.