How to Get Better Posture

The second post in this series of health collaborations is about posture. Good posture is not only good for your body’s alignment but can also enhance your self confidence. My biggest key to better posture that is also mentioned later in this post is core and abdominal strength. Some of my favorite core exercises here.

Posture is more important than many people think. With correct posture, you are likely to live longer, have far less trouble with aches and pains in old age, and even  – some studies suggest – live a happier life. But poor posture seems to be almost something of an epidemic at the moment. If you are concerned that your posture is not quite as good as it could be, you will be glad to know that there are a number of steps you can take to improve it. Many of these are relatively simple and straightforward, and yet can make a huge difference to how you live your life.

Developing A Mindfulness Of Body

One of the most important changes you can possibly make is to start to be a little more mindful of what your body is actually doing from moment to moment. Many people go through their daily lives not really paying close attention to their bodies. This inattentiveness can lead on to many problems, and bad posture is just one of them. The more aware you are of what your back is actually doing, the better equipped you will be to keep it – literally – on the straight and narrow.

There are certain times in the day when it is particularly beneficial to practise this. When you are sitting, particularly at a desk, try to remain aware of how your back is arched. Similarly, when you are walking you can use that time to simply pay attention to how you hold yourself. This simple act of drawing attention to your body is only the first step, but it is one of the most vital, and even just doing that is likely to make a difference at first.

Giving Yourself The Gift Of Sleep

Sleep is a hugely important health concern as it is, but it is especially relevant when it comes to trying to improve your posture. Many people often completely overlook the importance of their sleeping position and comfortability, but it is vital if you are truly serious about keeping your posture strong and healthy. Fortunately, there is plenty that you can do to improve your quality of sleep.

First, take a look at how comfortable – or not – your bed is. If it is not comfortable, it is more likely that you will shift around as you sleep, and this in itself can often be a cause of poor posture. Similarly, if you are sleeping on a mattress which is either too hard or too soft,  your posture will suffer – and besides, you will be causing harm to your back in the long run anyway. You should aim for a mattress which supports you, but does not envelop you. This plush beds mattress review gives an example of the kind of mattress which offers a good level of support. Remember that your pillows are important too – memory foam is a healthy option here, and you should endeavor to support your neck a little too.

It’s not just the bed itself however. If you are not sleeping as soundly as you could, you might be causing harm to your back, and making your posture in waking life much worse. Therefore, it is also important to carry out any other essential tasks aimed at improving your quality of sleep. This could mean working to get the temperature just right, choosing calming colors for your decor, and limiting the amount of caffeine you have in your diet. It all helps.

Training Your Body

Many people who want to improve their posture will carry out the things mentioned above first and foremost, without too much hassle. But many fewer people will ever look to training their body more generally. However, the better in shape you stay, the more chance you have of retaining a decent posture throughout your life. Training is vital – but what kind of training is best for this specific aim? The answer might surprise you.

Most of all, you need to make sure that you are working to stabilize your core. There are many specific workouts you can do to achieve this. The single leg extension, for example, can be particularly beneficial. In this exercise, you lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat, and your hands behind your head. Then it is a case of pulling your navel in and up towards your spine. Done right and repeatedly, this can improve your core hugely. That, in turn, means that your core muscles will find it easier to hold your body upright, therefore improving your posture naturally.

With a little concentration and some basic changes, you can improve your posture easily and quickly. Doing so will automatically lead to a better way of life, and this is something that anyone should consider doing.

No equipment exercises

I wrote a guest post on this topic over on The Stoker Kitchen a few weeks ago and wanted to revisit with a little more detail. I love that Brent and Tessa are close in age, we love that they grow and play together, however, having a child at age 30 and 31 was hard on my body and it’s been difficult to recover my previous level of fitness (basically every mom relates to this!) I absolutely loved Treehouse Athletic Club when we lived in Utah and felt it was worth every cent to have awesome equipment, classes, lots of space and most importantly, a great child care. The kids and I were there every morning except Sundays. Here in Austin, we are back at 24 Hour Fitness – this location is pretty crappy but they do have childcare which was basically my only requirement. Joining a gym with child care has been the number 1 thing that has helped me get back ‘in shape’ after having kids.

In the times, I’m not at the gym or outside exercising, these have been awesome to do in the house, no equipment necessary.

I like to do 10-15 reps  and 3-4 sets depending on the difficulty of the exercise OR 30 seconds of an exercise and then 30 seconds rest, repeat until exhaustion 😉 The nice thing is these can be done anytime and even if you only have 10 minutes.

Ab and core exercises:

  • Crunches
  • Bicycle crunches
  • Reverse crunches
  • Leg lifts
  • Plank
  • Side plank
  • Side plank crunch
  • Plank step out
  • Plank shoulder touch
  • Walking plank
  • Bird dog
  • Glute bridge/hip raise
  • Single leg hip raise
  • Split leg (jack knife) sit ups

no equipment exercises to lose weightno equipment exercises to lose weight, abs and coreLower body exercises:

  • Squats
  • Stationary lunges
  • Curtsy lunge
  • Calf raises
  • Standing single leg lift
  • wall sit

Upper body exercises:

Pushups, Spiderman pushups

Whole body exercises:

  • Burpees
  • Surrenders
  • Windmills
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Squat jumps
  • Inch Worm

no equipment whole body exercises to lose weight

My top 10 ab/core exercises here

no equipment exercises to lose weight that you can do anywhere

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Top 10…Ab and Core Exercises

I studied Exercise Science at BYU and absolutely loved my major! While I’m not currently working in my field, it’s so applicable to everyday life. Having a strong core is beneficial to one’s overall health and wellness, something I probably took for granted before having kids! My kids are almost 2 years apart and my body was definitely changed through the pregnancies and 2 C-sections (side note: it’s totally worth it, being a mom is the most amazing thing!)

I’m still working on the process of rebuilding my core and abdominal strength. One of the most common misconceptions is that doing thousands of sit ups will give you a 6 pack. Your core is not only the abdominal muscles but your entire core, including your back.

Here my top 10 effective exercises that will build your core (including your back!):

1) Plank

you can also try variations such as plank jacks, plank step outs, or plank leg lifts

 

ab1

2) Walking planks – shown on Bosu ball to add more of a challenge because of the unstable surface

ab3

3) Side plank

ab2

4) Split leg sit ups – I usually do these on the Bosu ball

ab4

5) Knee tuck on ball

ab6

6) Bird dogs – these are so great for your entire core! They can also be done on a Bosu ball for an added challenge

ab7

7) Spiderman plank

ab8

8) glute bridge – the variation is shown here using a single leg instead of 2

ab9

9) pelvic tilt – especially great for those small abdominal muscles in your core. This is also an excellent one for women recovering from pregnancy/diastasis recti 

ab10

10) side plank hip drop

ab11


Top 10 effective