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3 exercises to fix poor posture

Is your back out of whack? If you suffer from poor posture, it is time to realign your shoulders and spine.  Long hours hunched over your desk, steering wheel and cell phone contribute to rounded shoulders and an extended, frozen neck. Perfect your posture with the following exercises that will transform your stiff upper body from Frankenstein to Frankenfine.

Shoulder blade squeeze

12-15 repetitions
No equipment?  No problem.  Fix your form with this convenient move that can be performed at your home, at the office, or even on your drive to work.  This exercise helps activate the muscles responsible for keeping the shoulders straight and strong.

Step 1. Begin by standing, or sitting, with the spine straight and the shoulders back.
Step 2. Bend the arms to form a 90 degree angle at the elbows.
Step 3. Keeping the arms close to the body push the chest out and bring the elbows back as you squeeze the shoulder blades together.
Step 4. Hold for 5 counts.

Cobra pose

10-12 repetitions
An arched, sloppy stance ruins more than just prom and wedding photos.  The quality and quantity of air and blood flow are affected, as well.  Slouching creates a shift in the alignment and curvature of the spine.  As a result, nerve and muscle pain can develop.  Try this move to bring your posture back to life.

Step 1. Start in a prone position.
Step 2. Rest your palms on either side of your shoulders, with the elbows close to the ribs.
Step 3. Inhale as you push through your forearms, pulling the torso up from the ground.  You should feel your spine lengthen and the ribs expand.
Step 4. Exhale as you slowly lower the upper body down into Step 1.

Angel wings

12-15 repetitions
Take a moment to assess your posture.  Too often, we are unaware of our form.  Is your back hunched forward as if you are about to scale the bell tower at Notre Dame?  Take a deep breath and push those shoulders back with some "angel wings."

Step 1. Position your body so the heels, butt, shoulders and the back of the head are against a wall.
Step 2. Keeping the elbows bent, bring the arms up to create a "W."
Step 3. Glide the arms up into an overhead position, then slowly return them back to the starting stance.

Preventing poor posture is as simple as watching your back.

Earn it.

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