While a nice posture looks much better and more confident, the truth is that it is more than that. Correcting bad posture and fixing slouched shoulders is critical to overall health. Unfortunately, bad posture has become an epidemic.

Various factors contribute to its development, such as improper sleeping positions, tight muscles, weak muscles, slouching, anxiety, stress, and being overweight. The longer your love with poor posture, the more difficult it can be to change it. Also, the risk of developing health problems like chronic back pain increases.

Slouching and bad posture can lead to problems like muscle strain, back pain, difficulty breathing, poor circulation, joint pain and discomfort, fatigue, injuries, muscle atrophy and weakness, nerve compression, sciatica, stiffness, and digestive problems.

Exercises to Improve Your Posture

Cobra Stretch

The cobra stretch can improve breathing, spine, and posture by opening the chest, ribs, and lungs.

  • Lay down and place the hands on the floor palms facing down under the shoulders
  • Breathe in and lift up the ribs off the ground, heart forwards, shoulders back without crunching the neck
  • Hold for 30 seconds

Broom Shoulder Stretch

Broom shoulder stretches are a great way to loosen up the tight shoulders.

  • Hold a broomstick, pipe, or a band in front of you with an overhand wide grip
  • Lift it over the head and all the way around and back until you hit the buttocks
  • Repeat 10 times

Pectoral Ball Smash

This exercise helps loosen up tight muscles in the front chest through trigger point release.

  • Take a tennis, lacrosse or other ball and place it between the chest near the shoulder and the wall
  • Roll the ball around until you experience slight pain. Hold there for 20 seconds to release the knot
  • Keep rolling the ball to find other spots
  • Repeat the process for each spot on both sides

Cat/Cow Pose

This pose is great for back pain and can help to improve slouching.

  • Go on the hands and knees, knees below the hips, and palms under the shoulders
  • Inhale, pull the belly in and stretch the back like a cat with the tailbone and head dropping and back curving
  • Go back to the original position to extend the head and tailbone up without the abs getting lazy
  • Repeat the cycle 5 times

Bow Pose

  • As you lay on the stomach, bend the knees and bring them as close as possible to the hips
  • Grab the feet with your hands
  • Raise the chest, knees, and head off the mat
  • Inhale and kick the legs letting the arms go naturally with them
  • Exhale and go back to the original pose
  • Repeat 5 times

Thoracic Extension

This exercise is a great way to create a good posture as well as to prevent shoulder, back, and hip pain.

  • Get a foam roller and lay with the back on it, with the foam roller perpendicular to the spine and going across the shoulders
  • Raise the glutes
  • Move back and forth using the heels
  • Keep rolling until you feel discomfort.   When you do feel slight pain, hold on that spot for 30 seconds, then keep rolling

Pectoral Doorway Stretch

This stretch counteracts a sunken chest from slouching.

  • Stand inside the doorway with the right arm at 90 degrees and the forearm against the doorframe
  • Keep the elbow bent at a shoulder height
  • For a good stretch, rotate the chest to the left
  • Hold for 30 seconds and repeat with the left arm