Do you have good posture? Learn how to get it

For most of us, the word “posture” incites memories of our mothers begging us to sit up straighter and stand a little taller. In all reality, we made a point to sink a little lower in our chairs or hunch our shoulders a bit more when our moms urged us to correct our posture. When we were kids, we thought good posture was just something our parents made up.

Now that we’re older, we realize that how we hold our bodies greatly affects our health. We are more aware of the fact that our back aches because of the way we stand or sit. Posture is considered the correct alignment of the body’s two natural curves of the spine. Contrary to popular belief, good posture isn’t sitting as straight as you can.

Bad posture, though, can greatly affect your body. For example, did you know that the way you hold your neck determines how much pressure is placed on your spine? For every inch that you lean your head forward, 10 pounds of added pressure is placed on your spine.

Maintaining good posture, on the other hand, also affects your life – but for the better. Good posture improves your breathing, concentration and thinking. It also improves your overall appearance, changing how you look and feel. Proper posture can help you avoid serious health care issue in the future.

Good posture starts with your core muscles. You can strengthen your core muscles – comprised of the rectus abdominis, obliques, transverse abdominis and erector spine – through exercise. Here are some exercises that will strengthen your core muscles.

Core exercises.

Exercises that strengthen your core muscles help to improve your posture. Core exercises help to strengthen the muscles in your pelvis and improve balance and stability. The best part about core exercises is that they don’t require specialized equipment or fancy gym memberships. Most exercises can be done in the comfort of your own home. Such exercises include crunches that strengthen your abdominal and oblique muscles, the bridge, planking and stretching.

Yoga.

In addition to its ability to grant clarity and peace of mind, yoga is also known to offer several physical benefits. Yoga can help strengthen core muscles and improve overall posture. The poses performed during a yoga session are designed to open your mind and strengthen you physically, focusing on your core muscles.

Pilates.

This form of exercise is known for helping to develop strong core muscles. Pilates is excellent for improving your flexibility, as well. You can join a gym class or invest in a Pilates DVD to allow you train at home. Pilates is a great way to improve both your core and your posture.

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