Improving the posture can make a huge difference to how you look and feel. Years of slouching can make you look older and it also exerts a great deal of strain on your muscles and body. The result: fatigue, pain and even reduced balance. So today we will talk about some home remedies, particularly exercises and lifestyle changes, that can help you improve posture. Note that the best way to improve poor posture is by seeking guidance of a personal trainer who can recommend exercises to fix rounded shoulders and weakened abdominal muscles. Join a fitness program and mention specifically that you are looking for posture correction exercises. Do these exercises at least 3 to 4 times a week for 20 minutes per session.
1. Strengthen your core muscles
Core muscle strengthening exercises are the most important among all ‘improve posture exercises’. Here is a list of core strengthening routines that can help you strengthen your back without causing lower-back pain:
- Regular crunches– In these, you do not do complete sit-ups-but sit up to 45 degrees. These will help you reduce belly fat and also strengthen the lower back and abdomen.
- Plank hold and side planks– These improve posture exercises benefit the entire body. They strengthen and tone the abdomen and shoulders.
You can also swim daily to improve posture, reduce belly fat and also strengthen the chest, back and shoulders.
2. Do Yoga
Yoga is one of the best ways to correct posture. We recommend following yoga poses:
- Bhujangasan– The cobra pose- This strengthens shoulders, upper back and reduces belly fat. Do this asana 2-3 times a day and hold the pose for 10 seconds each.
- Dhanurasana– Bow pose- This can strengthen the spine and correct slouching. Hold the pose for 10 seconds at least and do 3 times a day.
- 12 rounds of Sun Salutations– Sun salutation or Surya Namaskar is a complete body workout. This posture correcting asana is known to strengthen the shoulders, upper back, reduce stomach fat and even tone the thighs. So apart from correcting posture fast, it can also help you tone and shape your body and even lose weight.
Image via Relaxation Yoga
3. Do exercises for rounded shoulders
There are many exercises for correcting slouching and rounded shoulders. You can do weight training with dumbbells and pushups and pull ups on parallel bars. For complete set of improve posture exercises, click here.
4. Practice correct sitting posture
Avoid the following when sitting:
- Poking or jutting chin forward
- Hunching shoulders
- Sitting with the spine in C shape
- Sitting with knees higher than the hips
- Holding head forward or to one side of the shoulder
- Sitting with weight on one side of the bottom.
When sitting at a desk, adjust the chair so that it supports the lower back. You can use a towel or cushion to fill up the gap between the chair and your lower back. Try keeping your feet flat on the ground and knees at the level of the hips. When using a computer, place the screen at eye level and your wrists and forearm straight and leveled with the floor. Take frequent breaks and stand or walk around from time to time.
5. Practice correct posture when standing
Do the following when standing:
- Keep head in midline on top or and in line with shoulders
- Always keep chin tucked in instead of jutting out
- Shoulders must be ideally relaxed
- Keep the bottom tucked in
- Place feet slightly apart in line with shoulders.
6. Fix posture while sleeping
Use following tips to correct posture while lying down or sleeping:
- Avoid too many pillows under the head
- Try and lie symmetrically instead of placing legs to one side. If your legs naturally go one to side, use pillows to correct them and bring knees in line with the spine.
7. Use posture correction braces
There are many ‘improve posture’ device and posture correction braces available in the market. Use them to ease back pain and reduce fatigue. Start by wearing them daily for 15-20 minutes then increase the duration to 2-3 hours. You can easily wear these under your clothes when working out or at work.
Image: Better Braces
8. Tips to avoid text neck
Text neck is a common condition seen mainly in young people who text or use their phone very often. It occurs due to the head bent forward all the time and leads to pain, fatigue and upper back pain. To avoid text neck, be conscious of your posture when you text. Do regular exercise like swimming or yoga and take frequent breaks from checking your phone.
9. Apply compresses
If neck of back pain due to poor posture is affecting your day to day life, use cold or warm compresses. Soak a flannel cloth in hot/cold water mixed with essential oils and apply to the neck or back. You can also use an ice pack or froze vegetable packets. Soaking in bath water mixed with Epsom salts is also soothing.
10. Castor oil massages
Castor oil is one of the best oils which can actually seep into the skin to give much needed relief from pain, knots in the muscles and even improve blood circulation. Make a poultice with warm oil and apply it to the inflamed areas.
11. Natural supplements to relieve text neck pain and back pain
Take turmeric and bromelain supplements which are both anti-inflammatory and help relieve pain caused due to poor posture.
If these natural remedies and improve posture exercises do not show results, see a chiropractor for spine alignment.