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Does Exercise Improve Posture?

You’ve heard the saying ‘walk tall’, but did you know that there could be a psychological link between our posture and how we feel? There is a reason the superman pose makes you feel more powerful and confident; you’re straightening your back, lifting your chin, and pulling your shoulders backward. 


It’s known as embodied cognition, which is a fancy way of saying that our mindset impacts our bodies and our bodies affect our mind. This means that we can hack into this for a better workout. 


Think of those sessions that feel like a slog. You are watching the clock and rushing through the motions as quickly as possible, knowing that it will be over soon. 


Now, think of those workouts where you are absolutely killing it. You feel strong and capable and ready for pretty much anything. 


Or think about when you run. You start with an excellent posture but find that you slump in on yourself as you tire. 


Did your posture change at all as you read through those scenarios? Ours did.


There are obvious health benefits to improving your posture, but we want to focus on being mindful of your body as you exercise to get the most out of your fitness regime as possible.


How do you know if you have bad posture?


If you’re reading this post, then chances are you already know that your posture is poor. Some tell-tale signs to be aware of include:


  • Bending your knees when either standing or walking

  • Rounded shoulders

  • Aches and pains, particularly in your back

  • Headaches

  • Leaning your head forwards or backwards


If you notice these on a day-to-day basis, then it is worthwhile investing in some posture-correcting exercises. There are some examples of these towards the end of this post.


The importance of good posture when exercising 


In addition to the psychological benefits of maintaining good posture during exercise, it will also reduce the chances of muscle strain and falling. Taking ownership of your posture is even more critical while gyms are closed, as you won’t have your personal trainer or class leader on hand to remind you. 


When exercising, go through the following checklist regularly:


  1. Is your neck aligned with your spine?

  2. Is your chin in line with your neck? Your ears should be over your shoulders

  3. Are your shoulders pulled back and down and do they feel relaxed?

  4. Is your back straight?

  5. Is your pelvis tucked under slightly and your belly button pulled back?

  6. Are your knees relaxed? Your knees must never be locked during exercise


If possible, try exercising in front of a mirror to remind yourself to go through this checklist.


How to improve your posture for better exercise


Ironically, the road to using good posture to improve your workout involves exercising to improve your posture. We recommend that you add posture-improving exercises to your workout regime while simultaneously being more aware of it in all other forms of exercise. 


The recipe for improving your posture includes strengthening your chest, upper back and core. In the short-term, you can use a posture corrector while exercising and measure the difference in how you feel during and afterwards. And in the long term, we recommend targeting exercises that will improve your posture in general. 


There are some common exercises you can add to your routine to combat poor posture, including:


  • Back extensions

  • Plank

  • Standing thigh stretch

  • Side-lying leg raises

  • Chest stretches

  • Pull-ups

  • Bridges

  • Seated rows

  • Neck stretches and rotations


Looking after your posture is an essential aspect of staying fit and healthy and should never be neglected.