Developing good posture

Q: I have the world’s worst posture. Is there anything I can do to improve it?

A: You bet there is – and the best part about improving your posture is that it makes you look thinner instantly!

To get started, become aware of your posture throughout the day. You can do that by creating a system to periodically check yourself. For instance, if you work in an office, every time the phone rings take a second to check if you’re slumping. Then sit up straight.

The key is to come up with a reminder system. Other examples: straighten up every time you hear a particular word or a commercial comes on the TV or radio. Or you could strategically place brightly colored dots or post-its around your home or office as reminders to stand tall.

Then, to make good posture second nature, you need to strengthen your torso muscles — chest, back, shoulders and abs. To target your shoulders, upper back and chest, try these exercises: overhead presses, back strengtheners and bustline firmers.

For your abs, do crunches: Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Place your hands lightly behind your head, and then slowly lift your head, shoulders and upper back off the floor. Keep your abs tight and back against the floor. Then lower yourself.

For your lower back, do these opposite arm/leg raises: Lie on your tummy with your arms extended over head. Slowly raise your right leg and left arm as far as comfortable, keeping both straight. Lower, and then repeat with the opposite arm and leg.

Do 1 to 3 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions for each exercise, 2 to 3 times a week. Allow at least a day of rest between workouts.

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