People with good posture are perceived as more attractive. Still other psychology research has shown that we look slimmer when we stand up straight, and that posture can affect our mood and behaviour.
Just follow these simple exercises to improve your posture and stand tall.
Posture target: Shoulders
This exercise prevents slumping forward, which may cause neck and shoulder pain.
Chest and shoulder stretch
Lie on your back. Stretch arms out to the side and turn palms so they face upward. Inhale deeply, then exhale. Hold 30 seconds. Do two to four times.
Lie on your back, arms stretched out to the side. Bend elbows 90 degrees so arms are in a bench-press position. Squeeze shoulder blades together without arching your back. Hold five to 10 seconds. Do two to four times.
Posture target: Hips
This exercise prevents the pelvis from tilting forward and down, which may cause tension in the lower back muscles.
Hip flexor stretch
While standing, lunge right leg forward onto a step; bend that knee until you feel a stretch in left hip. Be careful not to lunge too far. Hold 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat. Do two to four sets.
Lie on your back, with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Squeeze your butt muscles and push hips toward the ceiling, keeping shoulders on the floor. Hold five to 10 seconds. Do two to four times.
Posture target: Ankles
This exercise prevents ankles from collapsing inward (pronating), which can lead to knee pain and hip misalignment.
Stand with arms stretched forward and palms against a wall. Keep left knee slightly bent and step right leg back. Keep right foot flat on the floor. Hold 15 seconds. Then, point toes of right foot inward and hold 15 seconds. Switch legs and repeat. Do two to four sets.
While standing, reach down and find ankle bones with thumb and index finger. Slide fingers forward until you feel a dimple in front of each bone. To get a sense of the ankle’s range of motion, roll foot outward until you feel pressure on your index finger, then inward until you feel pressure on your thumb. Find the midpoint of that motion and stand up. This is the position in which your ankle is properly aligned. Practise standing in this position.