Ester Marsh: Exercises for proper posture

Published 12:22 am Monday, May 22, 2017

After my posture column a few weeks ago, I have had numerous members ask for exercises to help their posture, so I figured I would share some examples.

As with any workout, make sure you do a warm-up; a warm-up should last about 10-15 minutes.

With each exercise you should do the following: Stand or sit up straight, shoulders are back and relaxed down. Long neck, chest up and belly tight (make sure you can breathe!).

Exercises with machines to strengthen back

(Work up to two to three sets of 12 repetitions)

• Lower back

• A low row or cable row

• Pull down machine or with cable bar to the chest

Exercises to open up the chest

• Dbell flies on flat bench or mat

• Chest expanders, also called pull overs

• Pectoral adduction or also called “pec dec” machine

Exercises with no equipment

(Three sets with 10 repetitions)

• Stand up straight retract your chin as a turtle would go back in its shell

• Shoulder roll — first up and roll back to start position

Hold the stretches for each exercise for 10 seconds.

• Stand, clasp hands behind your back and gently lift hands up — keep chest up

• On floor —  sit with legs extended, reach to the farthest point (hopefully your toes!) but you should not be in pain! Now lift chest up and lengthen body.

• On your back — lengthen your arms and your legs like someone is pulling you from your hands and from your heels.

Proper posture is an ongoing factor. Awareness is the key and not giving up is crucial. It doesn’t matter when you forget! Just when you do remember — stand up straight, shoulders back and relaxed down, chest up and belly tight. And, of course, breathe.

As with any strength exercises using weights do them every other day. All other exercises and stretches can be performed every day. Results won’t happen overnight but you will see a difference and your spine especially will feel the difference!

Ester H. Marsh is health & fitness director for the JF Hurley Family YMCA.