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Straighten Up: Strength Training for Better Posture

No matter what our jobs or lifestyles, so many of us spend countless hours hunched over a desk or phone—working, texting friends, or reading the news. This unnatural position puts back and neck muscles at risk for injury and fatigue. That, in combination with the stress of daily life, is the perfect storm for bad posture and back and neck pain. Luckily, there are stretches to improve posture and strength training workouts for women that can strengthen the muscles in your back, shoulders and core.1

The Power of Ergonomics 

There’s a whole science devoted to the best setup for people’s work environments. Lots of factors, from the positioning of your chair to the height of your computer screen to the angle of your knees when you sit, contribute to the efficiency of your work setup and how it affects your physical health. And really, a lot of it comes down to posture. When you slouch, you don’t properly use the muscles in your back, neck, and core, which can weaken those muscles and put them at risk for injury. 

In fact, good posture is important for way more than just a confident look. By maintaining proper posture, you also do the following for your health:

Prevent lower back pain: When you sit in a slouched position for an eight-hour workday, it stresses the discs, muscles, and ligaments in the back of your spine.2 When you sit upright, you protect those posture-supporting body parts.

Give your energy a boost: When you sit with your body in proper alignment, your muscles and joints move as they are supposed to, and you avoid expending excess energy. Plus, when you slouch, you compress your lungs. Sitting straight and tall allows your lungs to work at peak level, so you can breathe at max capacity.3

Stave off a headache: Headaches often stem from muscle tension in the neck, which can result from poor posture and craning your head forward to read your computer screen. Keeping your screen at eye level and getting up frequently to take breaks can help you avoid headache pain.4

Look younger and slimmer: Standing up straight helps strengthen your core, and a strong core makes your abdominal muscles tighter and your waist slimmer. It also gives you a youthful, more confident appearance overall.5

Perfecting your Posture 

With these benefits in mind, here are some tips on how exercise, including women’s strength training and stretching for posture, can improve your posture and boost your overall health.

Sit like an ice cream cone. When you are in a seated position, your head should be directly over your pelvis, like a scoop of ice cream on a cone.6

Stretch for a straighter spine. Stretches that loosen and lengthen the muscles in and around your spine will improve your posture. Good stretches to improve posture include the following:

Deep Forward Bend: A basic stretch for posture, the fold over is simple yet effective. Stand with feet hip-distance apart and hinge forward at the hips. Release your hands and place them on the floor (or as close to the floors as you can). Bend your knees slightly, soften your hips, tuck your chin toward your chest, and let your spine lengthen. Hold for 60 seconds, then release.

Straighten Yourself Out with Curves 

In addition to stretching for posture, engaging in a women’s strength training program that targets all the major muscle groups in the body, including those in the back, shoulders and core, will help improve your posture. The Curves Circuit combines exercises that target all these areas, particularly the dip shrug, chest/back, and ab/back machines.

The Curves Health and Wellness Education Series classes, like the Better Balance and Posture, include dynamic e-learnings, weekly content review, and an extensive library of functional exercises. You even get the same support and from your Curves Coach with weekly virtual group coaching online. You’ll connect with other like-minded women from around the world looking to improve their balance and posture. The 6 Weeks to Better Balance and Posture class can be done in-club or at-home. This class is a perfect way to take a break from your at-home workspace to give your body a much-needed dose of stress relief and self-care.7

For more information about Curves, visit https://www.curves.com/about/why-curves.

Sources:

  1. Spinal Surgeon: How the coronavirus pandemic affects posture
  2. These 12 Exercises Will Help You Reap the Heath Benefits of Good Posture
  3. These 12 Exercises Will Help You Reap the Heath Benefits of Good Posture
  4. These 12 Exercises Will Help You Reap the Heath Benefits of Good Posture
  5. 7 Health Benefits of Good Posture
  6. Spinal Surgeon: How the coronavirus pandemic affects posture
  7. How to Get Better Posture and Why
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