Written by Natasha Pivovar — Updated: Tuesday, April 11, 2023
When I was young, I would roll my eyes and brush my mom off when she scolded me to sit up straight and stop slouching. As with most things, I’ve realized my mom was right.
Maintaining good posture can improve your mobility and quality of life. People of all ages can have poor posture, and with cell phones and computers being such a big part of our lives, posture is becoming a bigger problem. Short-term effects of bad posture include headaches and back pain. Long-term effects include pain that extends beyond your back, spinal dysfunction, rounded shoulders, and poor mobility. Most of us could benefit from incorporating exercises that improve posture into our daily routine.
Below, you will find five posture exercises you can do in under 10 minutes—making it easy to fit them into a morning or evening routine. Before you know it, you’ll be walking with your shoulders back and your head held high!
**As always, you should consult a medical professional to make sure you are able to undertake physical exercise. Remember not to overstretch to avoid injury, and if you ever feel any physical pain either before or during your exercise, please stop and consult a doctor before continuing.
Chin tucks are a great exercise to improve your posture by keeping your head aligned above your spine rather than drifting forward—which tends to happen as we age. Chin tucks can help improve your neck’s strength, flexibility, and function.
To do a chin tuck, sit upright and look straight ahead. Place your index finger on your chin and, without moving your finger, pull your head straight back until there is a gap between your chin and finger. Hold for 5 seconds, then pull your head forward to touch your finger. Repeat 5-10 times.
Shoulder rolls open up your chest and help loosen up the tight neck and back muscles associated with poor posture.
To do shoulder rolls, stand or sit up tall. Shrug your shoulders up to your ears, trying not to hunch your back or pull your neck forward. Once you shrug up, squeeze your shoulder blades together to pull your shoulders back. From here, engage your back muscles to pull your shoulders down before returning to neutral. Repeat 5-10 times.
Wall tilts help reduce stiffness in the lower back caused by aging and general day-to-day activity. This exercise will help you gently stretch your back muscles. They also help strengthen your ab muscles, which is important for seniors hoping to maintain good posture.
To perform wall tilts, begin by standing with your shoulders, back, and hips against a wall, with your feet together, one foot away from the wall. From here, arch your back while keeping your shoulders and hips against the wall. Then, flatten your back, resting it against the wall. Repeat 5-10 times. If you’re unsure about your form, watch this video for visual instructions on how to do wall tilts.
Bird dog is a core exercise that helps promote good posture by strengthening your abs, hips, and back muscles. It can also be an excellent exercise for relieving lower back pain and improving balance.
Begin on your hands and knees in a tabletop position. Engage your abs, and look directly down at the floor so your neck is straight. From here, raise your right arm and left leg, ensuring your shoulders and hips remain parallel to the floor. Hold for 5 seconds, then lower back to tabletop position. Repeat this on the other side by raising your left arm and right leg. Hold for 5 seconds, then return to tabletop position. Repeat 3-5 times on each side. Watch the video below to check your form and see a modification to make this exercise more challenging!
The superman pose helps strengthen the spine, back, and abdominal muscles, which all contribute to maintaining good posture.
To do this exercise, lie face down on the floor (or on a yoga mat/padded towel) with your legs and arms extended straight in front and behind you. Lift your arms and legs off the floor at the same time until you feel your lower back muscles contracting. You should look like if you were in the air, you’d be flying like Superman (this is where the workout gets its name!). Hold this position for 3-5 seconds, then lower your arms and legs back to the floor. Repeat the movement 5-10 times. Not sure your form is right? Check out the video below!
It’s never too late to listen to your mom and take the necessary steps to improve your posture and sit up straight! These posture stretches and exercises are great for seniors looking to improve mobility and stay active. When paired with other low-impact exercises and stretches, they can greatly improve your quality of life.