How to Improve Posture
Updated: May 21, 2020
By: Dr. Christine Weidemann, PT, DPT, OCS
For those of us who catch ourselves sitting too long whether with computer work, reading, or when watching a good show/movie, the key to remember is posture and not to slouch which places increased strain throughout the body. Not only is posture a key thing to remember when sitting, but it is also very important when standing, walking, and performing activities. Some things to remember to help with posture are included below.
Pull your shoulder blades back together behind you; however, do not over squeeze the blades together resulting in cramping. A nice easy squeeze throughout the day will be enough to help activate those muscles in the upper back.
Some exercises to help include waiter tips (1), midrows (2)
Remember to slightly lift your sternum as if a string is pulling you up. This will help to decrease a slouched posture. Try to think of your ears in line with the tops of your shoulders.
Some exercises to help include pulldowns (3) and/or extending your torso in a prone position (lying on your stomach and lifting your chest) (4)
Remember to keep your chin in line with the ground to decrease excessive chin up positioning or tilting of the head
Some exercises to help include chin tucks (both sitting and supine) (5 and 6)
Gaining hip extension is also important particularly as we are often sitting. Hip extension allows us to stand up tall and also to increase our stride length when we are walking
Some exercises to help include kneeling hip flexor stretch (7), standing hip flexor stretch (8), or even a calf stretch (9)
Another great thing to remember is your abdominal muscles to help activate the core. Your transverse abdominis is the deeper layer of the abdominals which contributes to stabilization and support of the low back. Start by drawing in your navel to activate the musculature. Exhaling can help you find the muscles initially. As you improve with activation, you can contract the muscle while breathing normally.
Some exercises to help include abdominal isometrics (10), pelvic tilts (11), dead bugs (12), supine marching (13).
Progressing to quadruped position can be beneficial for your core musculature and will aid in your transition to more dynamic movements and standing.
An exercise to help with this is the pointer dog/alternating arm/leg (14)
*Please see pictures below
**Do not try all of them in one day; however, attempt those which may feel appropriate as they should not cause any pain