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3 Ways to Improve Bad Posture

Stop Slouching! 3 Exercises For Bad Posture

We are pumped to share one of our fave stories from Self here on FitSugar!

Mom may have been setting you up for success when she told you to "Stand up straight!" as a kid.

According to new research from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, people who have better posture are more likely to think and act in a powerful way, and take an in-charge role — whether they are a high-powered manager or a newbie intern.

Despite mom's reminders (and the occasional poking of a pencil eraser between our shoulder blades!) we know our posture could be much better. So we called Pilates intructor Marcia Polas, of polaspilates in Denver, CO, to find out how we can correct our stance.

If you have kyphosis (a hunched posture, commonly called "slouching")
Try: Prone arm raises

Lie on your belly with legs straight and inner thighs turned out. Place a ball or rolled up towel between your heels. Rest your forehead on a folded towel, and place a pillow or folded towel under your belly (a trick to help you engage your abs). Bend your arms 90 degrees so hands are in front on you, roughly in line with your shoulders. Squeeze the ball between your heels to engage your inner thighs, pelvic floor and butt. Exhale, feeling your belly engage and lift your arms and hands a few inches off the ground. Hold, then inhale and lower. Repeat 10 times. Throughout the exercise, focus on keeping a wide back, pressing your rib cage toward your elbows and resisting the urge to allow your shoulder blades to come together. When you've nailed this with perfect form, you can add a chest lift.

Keep reading for more posture fixes.

If you have lordosis (a "swayback," or inward curvature of a portion of your back)
Try: Pelvic tilts

Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Exhale and curl your pubic bone toward your belly button. Imagine you're moving in each direction by engaging one vertebrae at a time. Inhale and hold this position for a few seconds. Exhale and, as slowly and controlled as possible, return to starting position. Repeat 10 times.

And a fantastic move for everyone . . .
Do it: Hundred's prep

Lie on your back. If you have lower back pain (often cause by an excessive curvature of the lower spine), place pillows or towels under your head. If you have more of an upper body "hunch," place a small rolled-up towel between your lower back and the floor. Bend your knees and squeeze a rolled up towel or ball between your inner thighs. Let your back widen against the floor, and place one hand on your low belly and the other on your bottom rib. On an exhale, very slowly lift your lower legs to a tabletop position. Inhale and exhale (each for five slow counts) in this position, then lower your legs with an exhale. Repeat 10 times, keeping your butt glued to the floor at all times and using the breath — coming deep into your belly — to make you feel like you are connecting your bottom rib to your hips.

Do you think your posture could be better?

More from Self:

Image Source: Thinkstock
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