Good posture isn't just about aesthetics - it can have a significant impact on your physical and mental well-being.
Slouching puts unnecessary strain on your muscles and joints, leading to pain and tension in your neck, shoulders, and back… all the way down your body. It's like a domino effect - one muscle gets tense, and it pulls on the next one, and the next one, and pretty soon you're all clenched up like an overcaffeinated barista - all jittery and hyped up on espresso.
And it’s not just physical! Researchers at Ohio State University found that good posture is associated with higher levels of confidence. They compared two groups of people - one group who sat up straight and another group who slumped - and found that the people who sat up straight reported feeling more confident and less anxious than those who slouched. The researchers concluded that posture has a significant impact on our emotional state.
Pilates is a form of exercise that focuses on strengthening the muscles that support good posture. To that end, here are three quick Pilates-based exercises you can do to work on yours.
Here’s a video of all three:
1. Shoulder Blade Engagement:
Helps strengthen the muscles between your shoulder blades, which helps you maintain good posture. This is super simple but gets those often–stuck shoulder blades moving. Plus, you can do it all day long if you want and no one can really tell since it's such a subtle movement.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms at your sides.
Reach your shoulder blades down your back, then together, and gently squeeze the tips of them together on your back
Hold for a few seconds, and release.
Repeat for 3-5 times.
2. The Seated Row:
Grab a resistance band and sit with your legs extended (bent knees are okay), feet slightly apart, and the band under your feet.
Hold the band with your arms extended in front of you, palms facing each other.
Pull your belly in and up, bend your elbows, and pull your arms back towards your chest, keeping your elbows close to your sides. Don’t pop your ribs as you pull your elbows back.
Release and repeat for 5 reps each 3 times.
3. Swimming (most challenging):
Lie on your stomach with your arms extended overhead and your legs extended behind you.
Simultaneously lift your right arm and left leg off the ground, reaching them out as far as possible.
Then, switch to your left arm and right leg.
Continue alternating sides for 5 reps on each side, making sure to keep your belly pulled in and up and your entire spine straight – from the tip of your head to your tailbone – long.
For questions or comments or more tips on working on your posture, visit me on Instagram at core.value.pilates.