1. Add yoga to your routine. Yoga can help determine and correct areas of muscular weakness, tightness and imbalance, and is especially effective at combating back pain. A study published in Spine magazine revealed that people with chronic back pain who practiced yoga regularly experienced less pain and its associated depression than those who did not. Because your spine plays a large role in helping to support your posture and align your body correctly, use yoga to strengthen and realign your body in the front, back and both sides, as well as to alleviate pain.
2. Hit the weights. You read how to train for better posture in the December 2010 issue of Oxygen. Now, here's a bonus move that you can take into the gym. Add it to your routine to strengthen some of the muscles involved in helping you maintain proper posture. Wide-Grip Seated Row Target Muscles: trapezius, rhomboids, latissimus dorsi, teres major and minor, posterior deltoids, infraspinatus, erector spinae Set Up: Sit at the row machine, adjusting the seat and padding so that your feet are planted and the horizontal handles are at shoulder height or slightly lower. You should be able to comfortably reach the handles without straining. Sit up tall, keeping your shoulders down and back and your abs tight. Action: Pull the handles toward your chest, concentrating the effort on your back and shoulder muscles, not your biceps; hold for one count. Extend your arms slowly, allowing your shoulders to return to the starting position. Repeat for three sets of 12 reps.
3. Think more about your posture, even when you're not in the gym. People sometimes spend dozens of hours a week in their cars. Perfect your posture while sitting in traffic using these tips from Steven Weiniger, DC, author of Stand Taller - Live Longer.
- Sit up in your seat with your best posture, imagining a balloon pulling your head toward the roof of the car.
- Set the mirrors in the car so you can see perfectly when positioned in your best posture. As soon as you start to slouch, your views will change, reminding you to sit up tall.
- Because your body was made to move, there is no "perfect" seating angle. Change the position of your seat frequently to avoid locking up in certain joints.
- If you're on a long road trip, change your seat adjustment once an hour. If you've got a programmable seat, enter two or three different options to keep your body from getting stiff and sore.