“Don’t slouch. Sit up straight.” It’s age-old advice that we’ve all heard at one time or another, and for good reason. Good posture reduces neck and back pain, lowers the risk of certain orthopedic problems, and improves your overall health.

If you find yourself hunched over your mobile device or slouching at the office, it’s never too late to correct your posture, and you won’t have to turn into a yoga guru in the process. You can improve your posture with a few exercises that are so simple, you can perform them anywhere, even at work.

Importance of good posture

Posture refers to your body’s alignment with respect to gravity. Gravity exerts force on your joints and muscles when you sit, lie and stand. When you practice good posture, you align your body properly and evenly distribute the force of gravity throughout your body.

Poor posture can cause all sorts of problems, from injury to muscle pain, because it places stress on the structures that make up your body. When you have good posture, you breathe easier, boost circulation, relieve stress on muscles and joints, protect your spine and even boost self-confidence.

We’ve put together a few simple exercises you can practice while you’re at work to reap the benefits of good posture.

Chin tuck

Computers and mobile devices keep us connected, but poor posture is a common drawback. Most people tilt their head forward and down when looking at their mobile device, a practice that places stress on their neck muscles and throws their spine out of alignment. To correct this, try the chin tuck.

Begin with your shoulders back and down. Place two fingers on your chin while staring directly ahead, move your head back and tuck your chin slightly. Hold this position for about five seconds before repeating up to 10 times.

Forward fold

Prolonged sitting is a risk factor for neck and back pain. Standing and walking at regular intervals is a great way to improve posture. When you have a few minutes to spare at the office, try this standing stretch to relieve the tension in your spine and hamstrings. You’ll notice that you stand straighter and taller after practicing this exercise.

Stand with your heels slightly apart and bring your hands to your hips. Fold forward at your hips and release your hands toward the floor. Bend your knees slightly and elongate your spine. Hold this position for up to one minute.

Standing cat-cow

Poor posture causes your back and hips to tighten. The standing cow is an exercise to loosen these areas so your posture improves.

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and bend your knees slightly. Extend your hands in front of you and elongate your neck. Next, bring your chin toward your chest, and round your spine. Look upward and lift your chest, as you do so move your spine in the opposite direction. Hold each position for five breaths at a time.

Regularly practicing posture-strengthening exercises can go a long way toward improving your posture.

The providers at Barrington Orthopedic Specialists understand the importance of good posture and are here to provide guidance, support and treatment for a wide range of orthopedic issues. Whether you have arthritis or are suffering from neck and back pain, our team can help you recover and get back to living your life. Dr. Brooke Belcher, Dr. David Tashima, Dr. Richard Rabinowitz and Dr. Anubhav Jagadish are our spine specialists.  Please call 847 285-4200 to schedule or complete an online registration form at www.barringtonortho.com. We have 4 convenient locations in Buffalo Grove, Bartlett, Elk Grove Village and Schaumburg.