When someone refers to your core, they are talking about the muscles that provide the support for the middle section of your body, which includes your spine, your ribs, and your shoulders. It will come as no surprise, then, that strengthening your core muscles will improve your posture. If you don’t have a good posture, it can affect all manner of different things, from making it harder for you to digest your food, to damaging your spine. A good posture will also make you look taller, more confident, and slimmer. So, there are plenty of reasons to pay attention to how you sit and stand. Here are ten easy exercises that will strengthen your core and help to improve your posture.
Crunches are the best exercise for working your abdominal muscles. Lie on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head, exhale, pull your tummy in, and raise your head off the floor, curling upwards toward your knees. Hold that position; lower yourself slowly back down and then repeat.
2. Pilates swimming exercise
This is an exercise that will strengthen your back muscles and help with your balance and poise. Lie face down on the floor with your arms and legs stretched straight out in front and behind you. Lift up the left leg and the right arm simultaneously, keeping both your arms and legs straight, then lower, and repeat with the opposite arm and leg. If you get it right, it will look a little like you are swimming, hence the name of the exercise.
One of the best tips on how to strengthen your core and improve posture is to do planks. This one works on a range of abdominal muscles and it also strengthens the back and the shoulders. Start by getting into the press-up position and then lower yourself down, elbows bent, so that your weight is resting on your forearms. Stretch your body out into a straight line so your back is straight, suck in your tummy, and hold that position for as long as you can. Then, relax and repeat.
4. Shoulder rolls
If you sit at a desk for long periods of time, you can develop rounded shoulders. This simple exercise will help to combat that and you can do it without getting out of your chair. Move yourself forward in your chair so that your back is away from the backrest. Sit up straight, back straight and with your head held up. Roll your right shoulder down and forward and then back up again, toward your ear and then repeat that movement with your left shoulder.
5. Leg lifts
Leg lifts are another one of the classic core exercises and they will strengthen and tone your thighs as well. Simply lay flat on your back with your arms at your sides, palms down, and your legs out straight. Keeping your legs straight, lift them slowly off the ground and hold that position for as long as you can. Then, relax and repeat.
6. Crunch and a twist
This is a variation in the standard crunch that will work on your core muscles and improve your posture. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head and then, rather than raising your whole by off the floor, lift one shoulder as far as you can, hold it, and then repeat with the other shoulder.
7. The mountain stretch
Stretching exercises will also help to improve your posture and this one will help you stand up straight and hold a good posture. Stand with your legs slightly apart, hands down by your sides, and your palms facing forwards. Keep your back straight, your head up and stretch your arms downwards. Hold that position for a while, relax, and repeat.
8. Spinal Extension
Stretching the spine will help to avoid your developing a hunched posture. For this exercise, you need to lie flat on the floor on your stomach. Holding your pelvis to the ground, gently lift yourself up with your arms, arching and stretching your back. Hold that position for the space of about three breaths, then lower yourself back down, and repeat.
9. Cobra back extensions
This one is another back stretching excise that will strengthen your core muscles, but it’s a little bit harder to do than the straight spinal extension. This time, lie flat on the floor on your stomach and pull your head and shoulders up, but without using your arms for support.
10. Chair twist
This final posture correcting exercise is another one that you can do at work. Sit up straight in your chair, place both your hands that right arm of the chair and twist your body around to the right. Turn your torso back to face the front and then repeat the exercise to the left hand side.