Do you often find yourself slouching or hunching over? If so, you’re not alone. Poor posture is a common problem that many people suffer from. In fact, a report by Urban Massage reveals that 73% of Brits are unhappy with their posture and regularly spend more than 13 hours of the day slouched and using screens.
Unfortunately, having bad posture can lead to a variety of health problems, including back pain, neck pain, and joint pain. It can also make you look older than you are! One of the best ways to improve your posture is by doing gym mat exercises.
How do exercises like yoga and Pilates strengthen the spine?
The spine is a vital part of the body that helps us to stand upright and move around. It is made up of 33 vertebrae that act as shock absorbers and provide added protection for the spinal cord. Yoga and Pilates strengthen the spine by working the muscles that surround it. These exercises focus on engaging the core muscles and stretching out tight muscles to improve posture, prevent injury, and relieve pain. If you’re interested in practicing either yoga, Pilates or a variation, you’ll need a reliable indoor mat as the base for some of the following moves.
The cobra pose helps to strengthen the spine. To do this pose, you will need to lie down on your stomach with your forehead resting on the floor. Place your hands flat on the floor beside you, then slowly lift your head, chest, and arms off of the ground. Hold for 30 seconds then relax. Repeat this move three times. Yoga and Pilates are great for posture building because they focus on working the muscles that surround your spine to strengthen it, prevent injury, and relieve pain.
This yoga and Pilates exercise strengthens the glutes while stretching out tight hip flexors which can cause poor posture. To do the bridge pose, lie down on your back with your feet flat on the ground and shoulder-width apart. Bring your knees into your chest then lift your torso and upper legs into the air, extending your hips until your thighs and torso are in line with each other. Hold for 30 seconds then relax. Repeat this move three times.
To do the puppy pose, start on all fours with your hands directly below your shoulders and knees hip-width apart. Slowly tuck your chin towards your chest and press your palms into the floor as you walk them forward until your forehead rests on the ground in front of you. Hold for 30 seconds, relax, then repeat three times.
This move is great for improving posture and relieving pain in your back, neck and shoulders. To do this exercise, you’ll need to sit on the floor with both legs extended out in front of you. Bend one knee up towards your chest while reaching over that shoulder with your opposite arm. Hold for 30 seconds then relax. Repeat this move three times on each side of your body before switching sides again and repeating the sequence once more.
The key with any strengthening gym mat exercise is to commit to regular stretching. Little by little, you’ll notice an improvement in your posture and your core, and the benefits will extend to your musculoskeletal health.