The Secret to Looking Slimmer Instantly
As a kid, I remember adults telling me to stand up straight and stressing the importance of good posture. Now, as an adult and a person who works in health and fitness, I can appreciate that for the great advice that it was. I’ve learned how much your posture can affect not just your appearance but your health as well. Good posture is crucial not just when you’re exercising but it also makes a big difference in the way you walk, run and balance everyday.
Bad posture is a bigger problem today because so many people spend 8-10 hours a day sitting behind a desk or working on a computer. As a general population we’re not as active as we were even 50 years ago and it’s making a difference. If you’re a sloucher, here’s why you should work on improving your posture.
- Standing up straight and tall can make you look instantly slimmer. Try it right now. Force yourself to stand with your shoulders back, neck and head straight, abs in and you’ll see the difference.
- Your posture impacts your circulation and your digestion. When you’re standing or sitting with your spine in proper alignment it relieves pressure on your digestive organs and gives them more space to perform their function.
- Good posture keeps bones and joints in correct alignment so that your muscles can move freely and with less risk of injury. Over time bad posture can lead to degenerative arthritis and joint pain. And, long term slouching puts stress and strain on your spine and can permanently change its shape.
The good news is even if you’ve been slouching for years, there are several exercises you can easily do to help strengthen your postural muscles and improve your posture. Try these:
Seated Row: Sit on the floor with your legs extended forward. Place the middle of a resistance band around the bottom of your feet. Grasp the ends of the band with your arms extended in front of you. Pull the ends of the band toward your hips, bending your elbows so they point backward. Hold and slowly return. Do 8-12 repetitions for three sets.
Y Move: Stand with a resistance band under your feet about 6 inches apart. Hold the ends and lift your arms up and outward away from your body about 30 degrees. Keep a slight bend in your elbows. Stop at shoulder level, hold and return. Do three sets of 8-12 reps.
High Plank: Get on all fours, straighten your legs, lift your heels off the floor and raise your hips. Straighten your back and engage your abdominal, arm and leg muscles. Lengthen the back of your neck and look down at the floor keeping your chest open and your shoulders back. Hold this position for 1 minute at a time.
Dumbell Side Bends: Holding a medium heavy weight in one hand, stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Relax your shoulders. Slowly bend to one side, then return to the starting position. Do 8-12 repetitions for three sets on each side.
Hip Flexor Stretch: Kneel onto your right knee with toes down, and place your left foot flat on the floor in front of you. Place both hands on your left thigh and press your hips forward until you stretch in the hip flexors. Switch sides.
The Superman: Start by lying face down with your arms at your side. Extend your arms out in front of you keeping a slight bend at the elbows and your palms facing the floor. Keeping your core still, lift your legs and arms off the floor as if you are flying. Repeat 8-12 times.