If your body feels out of whack and your neck, shoulders, and back are constantly tight and achy, you probably need to show your muscles some TLC and focus on your posture. When we spend long periods of time seated and on devices such as laptops and cellphones, we begin to adopt poor posture habits, and it's not good for your body. One simple way to start improving your posture is to focus on strengthening your abs.
"The core is the foundation of our body," Pamela Geisel, MS, CSCS, an exercise physiologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery's Tisch Sports Performance Center, told POPSUGAR. When you think about the core, your abs are probably the first thing that come to mind, "but it's actually so much more than that," Geisel said.
Your core stabilizes your spine, which is one of the most important things it does, according to Geisel, and it also allows you to transfer power. "The core is responsible for every movement possible," Geisel said. When you're sitting at your desk, your core keeps you upright. When you walk and run, those movements originate from your core, she continued. "It's so important that we pay attention to it, because it helps us move in optimal patterns that decrease the risk for injury and also allows us to excel at the activities that we love to do," she said.
How a Strong Core Helps You Maintain Good Posture
Because people are sitting more, upper crossed syndrome, where the upper back is rounded and the head shifts forward, is becoming more common. People with upper crossed syndrome also tend to have elevated and protracted shoulder blades and poor thoracic spine (your lower spine) mobility. "So we put all these things together, it creates havoc." It can lead to headaches, lower-back pain, and tightness and stiffness throughout your body, Geisel explained.
One way to prevent and fix upper crossed syndrome is to make sure the ergonomics of your work station are good, to take breaks often and move your body, and to do exercises at the end of the day to counteract any tightness and weakness that may be present, Geisel said. Specifically addressing tightness in the upper chest and traps with neck stretches and strengthening your deep neck flexors and scapular stabilizers (the back muscles) can help tremendously.
To help you improve your posture and core strength, Geisel shared a few exercises she recommends doing daily. They're easy to perform, and you can do them with resistance bands or light weights, depending on your fitness level. If you want a stronger core and better posture, start adding the following exercises into your movement routine.