13 Best Exercises to Improve Posture

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Doing posture exercises can be a fast and easy way to improve the health of your neck, shoulders, back, and spine, along with a variety of other great benefits.

What is a Posture?

Posture is the manner in which you hold your body during both active and passive times in your life. Good posture is generally described as your head being held straight above your shoulders, and your shoulders being held straight above your hips. When your posture is consistently bad, it can put constant strain on your spine, as well as the nearby muscles and tendons in your neck, shoulders, and lower back. This can lead to inflammation and a higher risk of joint disorders, as well as chronic pain, poor sleep patterns, irritability, and fatigue. [1]

Fortunately, you can perform various posture exercises to train your body and mind to incorporate good posture in your daily life. As with any type of habit, both good or bad, good posture can be learned, and could even become a natural, unconscious part of a new, healthier you. [2]

A man depicting three different sitting poses in three different shots

Maintaining a good posture is very important for your body. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Posture Exercises

The best exercises for posture include single leg extensions, shoulder rolls, chair pose, and dumbbell side bends, among others. Many of the following exercises are intended to strengthen posture-related muscle groups or improve core strength, as both of these benefits will help your body hold itself up straight while sitting or standing. [3]

  • Yoga sit-up
  • Crossover
  • Cobra pose
  • Shoulder rolls
  • Single leg extension
  • Crunches
  • Chest release
  • Pyramid
  • Chair pose
  • Belly lift walk
  • Back extensions
  • Seated twist
  • Standing side bend

Tips for Doing Posture Exercises

There are a number of great tips while doing posture exercises, such as spacing the exercises throughout the day, practicing them at work and doing them in the car, among others.

At Work

  • One of the most common locations for poor posture is at work while sitting at a desk for hours at a time.
  • If you do some of these exercises – particularly those that can be done while seated – when you’re at work, it will help your mind begin to associate sitting in a work chair with good posture. [4]
  • This can lead to the development of better habits.

In the Car

  • One of the other prime locations for poor posture is while driving.
  • If you are a commuter and spend more than an hour driving in the car each day, consciously try to implement some of the above-mentioned exercises and keep your muscles relaxed. [5]
  • Be cautious while driving, of course, but use the time wisely and develop a healthy posture in the car.

At Regular Intervals

  • Doing posture exercises once in the morning and again at night isn’t going to result in lasting change or an alteration of your habits.
  • Try to remind yourself 6-8 times per day, at least, about remedying your slouching posture.
  • This repetition will gradually become a habit, which can lead to the reduction in pain and inflammation you so desperately crave.
  • Posture exercises are also simple and can be done quickly, without breaking a sweat!
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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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