Straighten Up Your Posture With These 5 Exercises

If you’re a mom then I’m sure you are well-aware of how our bodies change one we have kids. We expand in certain areas, other areas droop, our hair falls out and our posture tends to suffer. A growing belly makes it difficult to stand up perfectly straight, not to mention carrying around that baby once you have him or her with their constantly flailing arms and legs.

Do you slouch? Fix up your posture with these 5 exercises Click To Tweet

A second baby doesn’t make things any easier.

Breastfeeding, though easier the second time around, was almost always on the go. I didn’t have time to get out the boppy pillow to prop Sweet P up. Instead, I nursed her hunched over, doing no favors for my posture.

Straighten up your posture with these 5 exercises

Straighten Up Your Posture With These 5 Exercises

Why is proper posture so important? 

  •  Muscles are supposed to work in a particular way, and, without proper posture, they are unable to work as they are intended. Extra stress is placed on certain muscles and all that extra effort and stress puts you at risk for injury. Add exercise and/or carrying a baby around on top of that, and you’re sure to wind up with some sore muscles. How many of us suffer from back pain?

Take my breastfeeding position with Sweet P. I would sit slouched down with my shoulders hunched over. I can’t count how many times I’d be looking down at my phone causing my head to shift forward. Over time chest muscles start to shorten and back muscles elongate since they are frequently in that position. Before I know it, Sweet P is a year old and that hunched over position has become my natural position when I’m sitting down.

Straighten Your Posture with these exercises

Fortunately, there is a solution to poor posture.

  1. Awareness is the first step. Be mindful of your posture. Look at your posture in the mirror or have a friend snap a side view picture. Then you can pinpoint if and where you need some work
  2. Once you determine which muscles need to be strengthen and which ones need to be stretched, you can get to work. There are a lot of different posture deviations, so for this post I’m going to be focusing on kyphosis, or rounded shoulders. This will be an ongoing series so stay tuned for more postural deviations and exercises. Besides the exercises I’ll share below, yoga is a great practice for improving your posture. A lot of yoga poses help stretch out those muscles that may have been shortened due to bad posture. For some yoga poses for better posture, check out this article from Breaking Muscle.

Straighten Up Your Posture With These 5 Exercises

If you are suffering from a hunched over posture, try these 5 exercises below. I’d recommend doing each move 10-12 times with 2-3 sets. Disclosure: Please be sure to consult with your physician before trying out any of these moves. It is important to talk with your doctor if you have concerns about your posture. 

1. Bird Dog 

I love this move. Not only is it great for your core, but it also works your arms and legs and even helps improve balance. Start with in a neutral table top position. Slowly extend your back leg and your opposite arm, then return your arms and legs to the starting position.

bird-dog-posture-exercises

2. Shoulder Packing 

This is a simple move. You can do this standing or even while lying on the ground. Start in a normal standing position with your arms by your sides. Shift your shoulders down away from your ears then back (think about trying to touch your shoulder blades together). Hold the contraction for 5-10 seconds before releasing.

Straighten up your posture with shoulder packing exercises

3. Glute Bridges 

Bridges are another core and balance exercise, while also working the backs of the legs and glutes. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent. Slowly use your core and your butt to lift upward, squeeze at the top before returning to the start position.

Straighten your posture with glute bridge exercises

4. Supergirl 

This move is great for the lower back. Start on your stomach on the ground. Slowly use your core to lift your arms and legs. Be careful not to lift with your neck. Keep your neck in a neutral position with your spine.

Straighten your posture with super girl exercise

5. Seated Row 

This move is to work your back. You will need some bands or weights if you have them. If you don’t have them you can do without, but just be sure to really squeeze at the end of the move.

Straighten your posture

Bonus: Stretches 

It’s not only important to strengthen the muscles that have been elongated, but it’s also good to stretch out those muscles that have been shortened. Here are a few stretches to try to help improve your posture. Try to hold each stretch for at least 15 seconds and 3 sets.

Posture stretches

More information 

For more information on posture, here are a few more sites to check out.

Straighten up your posture with these 5 exercises

5 things I learned while becoming a personal trainer

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