Do you feel like an exciting experiment to improve your posture? You don't have to do much for it either, except freeze in your current position for a bit. Let's guess: You're sitting in front of a computer screen, your back is bent, your shoulders are pulled up, and your head is stretched forward. Right? Then you're stuck in the typical display pose that leads to painful tension in the long run, the so-called cell phone neck. The good news is that you can improve your posture - not only in front of the screen, but also while walking, standing and sitting, at work, in your free time and during sports. We'll show you how.
Why is it important to improve your posture?
Your posture has a huge impact on your body and mind. It can make you look and feel better. When you stand up straight, you immediately appear healthier, younger and more powerful - you've probably noticed this in the mirror more than once. But: If you adopt a power pose, it also has an effect on your feelings. So you can actively improve your mood by improving your posture. Isn't that great? This reason alone is enough to start improving your posture right away. You do this on the one hand by making yourself aware of the circumstances that cause bad posture. And on the other hand by practicing and internalizing the correct posture over and over again.
Attention: This harms your posture!
Bad posture has physical effects. We would like to emphasize this very clearly and thus state: Improving posture is extremely important for each of us. After all, each of us is exposed to the risk of unhealthy posture in numerous situations every day. In an office job, for example, the constant sitting leads to tension, which tempts us to fall into a "gentle" posture. This then causes the important muscles that are essential for an upright posture to atrophy.... a vicious circle. To really wake you up to this issue, we've rounded up some really scary facts around improving posture:
- Too little exercise: One in three Germans moves less than 30 minutes a day - and that includes walking or biking to work. In this way, countless muscles are chronically neglected. The result: they atrophy and shorten, causing tension and pain. The solution: More sports & improve posture!
- Sitting too long: Every fourth German sits more than 9 hours a day. This permanently exerts enormous forces on the spine. If you sit in a straight posture, your spine is loaded with about 85 kilograms; the bent-over sitting posture at the computer screen even leads to a load of up to 175 kilograms. If you don't compensate for this, you're guaranteed to have a back problem soon. Again, the solution is: More sport & improve posture!
- Too much time on the cell phone: The average smartphone use is currently an incredible 3 hours per day. Due to the posture of looking down at the screen, the neck is extremely stressed with about 17-19 kilograms. Again, neck, shoulder and back pain are the result. And often these additionally entail headaches. And the solution is again: More sport & improve posture!
You can improve your posture with these back exercises:
Now, some circumstances you can't change - but others you can. Sure, you have to do your office job, but you can certainly leave your phone behind more often to improve your posture. And you can also integrate more exercise into your daily routine to improve your posture. Our tip: With an uncomplicated everyday sport that you can do anytime and anywhere, even for just 10 minutes, you can easily get started on a more active life. Because once you've made a start, the desire to exercise increases all by itself - we can promise you that from experience. How about a balance board to improve your posture? You can surf a bit on it while bingewatching in your living room. In addition, we recommend the following specific exercises to improve your posture.
Improve posture through strong core muscles
All exercises for the deep abdominal and back muscles are suitable for this. Stretching and balance exercises in particular will help you improve your posture. Please note: Exercises for the deep muscles are mostly almost invisible movements that are performed exclusively by the muscles of the segmental system. These muscles are located directly on your spine and perform constant postural work there. But now for the exercise: lie on your back and place your feet hip-width apart on the floor. Now imagine that you pull your pubic bone towards your head and your belly button towards the mat. The movement is, as I said, almost invisible on the outside, but you can feel it with your hands between your hips, belly button and pubic bone. Hold this tension for about 15 seconds, but keep breathing calmly. Relax with an exhalation and then repeat the exercise 5 to 10 times. By the way, you can learn more about segmental stabilization in our blog post "What is segmental stabilization...? and how does it help me train?" - take a look.
Improve posture through strength training
In addition to activating your deep muscles, you should also strengthen your surface muscles to improve your posture. Especially exercises that target the muscles of the upper back and shoulders will help you improve your posture. These are often very simple exercises that you may even remember from school sports, for example the Superman or its slightly modified alternatives the scissors and the butterfly. Lie on your stomach, stretch your arms and legs far forward and backward. Now lift all limbs a few centimeters off the floor and keep your gaze directed downwards onto the mat. Now you can hold this tension for about 15 seconds or additionally perform small paddling movements with legs and arms in counter-synchrony. Attention: Do not forget to breathe! If you repeat this exercise 10 times, you will surely feel the mentioned muscles, right? But please be careful not to fall into a hollow back by lifting your arms and legs too high.
Improve posture through stretching
For a tense neck or back, stretching exercises are the key to improving posture, for example the famous child's pose or the cat hump. With the child's pose, it's important to pull yourself forward as much as possible to improve your posture through stretching. With the cat hump, the change from a slight hollow back to a high shoulder hump is the core of the exercise. These and other exercises of this type can also be found in yoga or Pilates. Both sports are excellent if you want to improve your posture. They train breathing as well as deep muscles and balance - three important factors in improving posture. Another great addition to back training on the mat is training on the balance board to improve posture. It offers you many "balance exercises with fun factor" and loosens you up effectively in case of back pain.
A straight back in everyday life
If you want to improve your posture, then in addition to these targeted exercises to improve posture, you should also think about an upright posture in everyday life and correct your slouching posture. For example, regularly remind yourself with a Post It on your screen that you have declared war on your bad posture. Then feel carefully inside yourself: Are your shoulders already hunched up again? Has your head been pushed forward again and your back hunched over? If so, then immediately adopt a better posture by performing the following five corrections to your posture or body position in succession:
Five corrections to for better posture
1. move while improving posture: Squeeze your buttocks together: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, tighten your butt, and shift your pelvis forward a little.
2. move to improve posture: Tighten your belly: Tighten your belly by imagining that a tight corset is closing around you. You will even grow a little bit.
3. move to improve posture: push your chest out: stretch your chest upwards by imagining that you have an eye on your cleavage that wants to look at the sky.
4th Move while improving posture: Relax your shoulders: pull your shoulders back first and then roll them down. By rolling them (not pushing them) they will stay much more relaxed in this optimal position and won't fall right back forward.
5. move to improve posture: use your head: Find the correct head position by imagining someone pulling your head up with a string attached to it. Your ears are above your shoulders, your chin is slightly lowered, and your gaze is straight ahead.
The best way to get into the habit of this straight posture is to do it as often as possible in your daily life. In the beginning, you may feel strange doing these exercises to improve your posture, and the upright posture may even be a bit strenuous. However, this healthy posture will quickly become the norm. Soon you will automatically assume it... and also hold it. Then you'll say "Goodbye, slouched back!" and "Hello, correct posture!" completely pain-free.
These 10 exercises will help you correct your posture
You can integrate the above described optimal position for posture improvement into your everyday life as often as possible. In addition, small exercises at your desk can also help you to maintain a straight posture. These can be done quickly, for example during a phone call or a short coffee break.
- Sit & stand up dynamically: Change your sitting position more often and stand up at least once an hour. You can combine this with a walk to the cafeteria or kitchen to hydrate yourself.
- Consciously stand & sit up straight: At least once an hour, consciously stand up straight for three minutes, i.e. in the absolutely optimal body position that we described above.
- Pay attention to the right angles: When sitting, your thighs should be at right angles to your lower legs and your back should be at right angles to your thighs. Adjust your office chair accordingly to avoid poor posture.
- Keep feet flat: Your feet should be touching the floor when you sit. And both with the flat sole. If that's not possible, you'll need a footrest to improve your posture.
- Tilt your head, but don't circle: Keep tilting your head far to the left, right, front and back - this stretches your neck and throat muscles. Please don't turn your head in circles, though, as this could intensify your tension.
- Raise your arms above your head: Raise your arms up over your head as far as possible and then slowly rotate your torso to the left and right. This stretches your chest and abdominal muscles.
- Body Stretch: Stand upright and then bend down as far as you can towards the floor with your legs extended. You may not be able to touch it with your hands at first, but this will improve with time. Keep at it.
- Rotate your shoulders: Keep your shoulders loose at first, then pull them back a bit and start circling. Finish by rolling your shoulders down nicely to improve your posture - it's good for you.
- Lean against a wall: Stand against a wall with your back and arms down at your sides. Feel how and where your shoulder blades touch the wall. Now press against the wall with your forearms. Can you feel the change?
- Pull your shoulder blades together: Bring your shoulder blades together as close to your back as possible. Hold this tension for about five seconds, then release and repeat the exercise five times to improve your posture.
Beware of getting rid of a hunchback or hollow back!
People with a hunchback (widow's hump) especially want to improve their posture to relieve back pain. A posture with a hunchback usually leads to severe tension in the neck and shoulder area. Not infrequently, headaches are also added. And that's not all. The bent rib cage squeezes internal organs, which often results in abdominal pain. Even breathing is impaired, which becomes noticeable through a lower oxygen content in the blood. Fatigue and lack of concentration can be the result. But beware: when correcting a hunchback posture, people often work to the other extreme - the hollow back. However, this posture is just as harmful in the long run, especially for the lower back, and should therefore also definitely be corrected. Good exercises against a hunched back are, for example, stretching exercises for chest and back muscles. And with the right exercises you will also get rid of your hollow back. As exercises against a hollow back you can do the bridge or planks. Our tip: In any case, integrate more movement into your everyday life. The more active you are, the more often you will get out of your bad posture.
Holistic training with the Balance Board
True to the motto "as much movement as possible", you don't have to stick to pure back exercises. On the contrary: if you train your body as a whole, your back will also benefit. With the Balance Board you can exercise when you want, where you want and for as long as you want. From a psychological point of view, this lowers the hurdle - especially at the beginning of the workout - or minimizes the inner pig. You know what that's like, don't you? It often stands in our way during sporting activities and seems almost invincible. It usually feeds its energy from the fact that we set ourselves too big goals. You don't have to train for an hour. Rather start with 10 minutes and then increase - this way you are guaranteed a quicker sense of achievement. And as we all know, success makes you want to do more.
In the wahu community, i.e. among many like-minded people, training is twice as much fun. Here you can get inspired, exchange ideas and become wonderfully creative. Many exercises for the back, tricks, jumps and flips are just waiting to be rocked by you. Just start with the beginner guide and then wiggle your way to our basic exercises. Try it out - we are looking forward to you!