A beautiful Asian woman stretching her arms on a couch

Did you know that proper posture does more than make you look like you are sitting or standing up straight? Numerous studies have shown that it improves pulmonary function, relieves back issues, aids digestion, and enhances disposition. It can even make you taller! Who doesn’t want all these benefits? So, don’t be a slouch. These posture exercises can help you straighten up. Plus, we have a list of everyday things that you didn’t realize were affecting your posture. 

Do Chest Stretches Every Morning and Evening 

Harvard Health lists constipation, heartburn, and incontinence as some of the consequences of poor posture. It’s no wonder that slouching is also associated with a bad mood. To start your day on a better note, do some posture exercises that will open up your chest and relieve tension in your upper back.

Put your stretched arms behind your back and interlace your fingers, palms facing together. Gently pull your shoulders back, lifting your arms as high as they would go. Hold this position for three counts, then relax. Repeat 10 times.

Perfect the Reverse Plank Bridge

Different kinds of stretches target different areas of your back. You can localize your workout to any tense areas

Also known as the tabletop, bridges are quick but effective posture exercises that numerous posture pain points, such as the chest, shoulders, hips, and neck.

Start by sitting on a mat, with your knees bent, your back slightly leaning and your hands on the floor, palms facing the sides. Gently lift your hips until your entire body is in a straight line. Keep your abdominal and gluteal muscles tight and your shoulder blades engaged. Make sure to tuck in your chin, as if you’re trying to look at your navel. Hold this pose for 30 seconds and perform in three reps. 

Don’t Neglect your Neck

You can do this simple trick anywhere, but especially when you’re sitting down. Straighten your posture as best you can; place your arms on your sides. Then, tilt your neck to the right, stretching it as far as you can, while pulling your outstretched left arm. Hold this position for three breaths. Repeat in the opposite direction and arm. Try to do about five reps each day.

Practice Workouts That Stretch and Lengthen

If you want to do more than a quick five-minute routine, then you can join programs that lengthen and stretch your body, such as yoga, Pilates, and barre. According to a Harvard Special Health Report An Introduction to Yoga, this ancient practice is a gentle way to develop back strength and flexibility as well as reduce tension in the muscles.

Meanwhile, the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research notes Pilates, which was developed to help rehabilitate injured soldiers during World War I, has shown benefits in increasing core strength and improving posture. The study, which surveyed 50 participants engaged in twice-a-week Pilates sessions for three months, also saw height increases in some of the participants. Ballet-inspired barre workouts also work similarly-building strength, flexibility, and stabilizing the body.

When embarking on these posture exercises and poses, make sure you do them with conviction. Raise your arms confidently with Rexona Women Natural Brightening Fresh Rose Roll-on Antiperspirant Deodorant. Its Motionsense technology makes you feel fresher with every movement, inspiring you to reach, stretch, and push confidently. 

Bad Habits That Might Be Affecting Your Posture

Some habits are so ingrained in our system, we don’t even realize that they’re affecting our posture.

The problem with habits is that they’re so embedded in your lifestyle you don’t even notice when something is off. Our suggestion? Do a self-evaluation of the little things you do that might be affecting your spine. Here are some that you might not realize are hurting you. 

You’re wearing a ponytail.

Wearing your hair in a mid or low bun or ponytail can push your head forward. Likewise, tying your hair too tightly can pull it back. These seemingly minor things can cause your neck to be misaligned from the rest of your spine. If you must wear your hair up, tie it loosely on the top of your head or use a banana clamp instead to ease the tension. Otherwise, try to keep your hair down.

If you have long and thick tresses that lean towards the oily side, however, the weight of your locks can also have an impact on your neck. Always make sure to wash away excess grime or oil with Sunsilk Naturals Coconut Hydration Shampoo. Formulated with coconut water, it cleans, refreshes, and moisturizes your hair without making it feel flat or heavy. 

Check how you’re carrying your purse.

A 2017 study in the Journal of Education and Health Promotion showed that the maximum load a person can carry in their backpack without hurting one’s posture is 10% of their body weight. You don’t need to imagine how a one-sided purse, like a shoulder or crossbody bag, can affect your spine. Without proper support, bags can put a strain on your muscles, and you might end up favoring one side of your body to deal with the burden. 

You’re overly stressed.

Numerous studies have confirmed that when you’re feeling anxious, your breathing changes, causing you to slouch and thus affecting your posture. However, this situation is two-fold. According to research by the American Psychological Association, sitting upright can reduce feelings of negativity and maintain self-esteem.

Find little ways to relax, even if it’s as simple as enjoying your shower. Calm your nerves with the soothing lavender and chamomile scents of Dove Relaxing Lavender Body Wash. Make it a daily ritual to have some quiet me-time to collect your thoughts and emotions and untangle them. 

You should have listened to your mother when she told you to sit up straight. That said, you can still reap the benefits of proper posture by regularly doing posture exercises.