Exercises to Correct Bad Posture

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Most of us remember being told to sit straight and hold our heads high growing up, as a basis for good posture. However, it's easy to find yourself slumping in your chair after hours at the computer, or lounging around watching television. When we walk, many of us don't think about our posture, and we often carry heavy purses, briefcases or computer bags, creating a constant drag on our shoulders. To avoid hunched shoulders, low back pain or compressed vertebrae, perform a variety of basic posture exercises on a daily basis .

Wax On, Wax Off

A great exercise to help stretch and exercise the upper shoulders, which helps prevent forward hunching, is to sit in a chair, back straight, feet on the floor in front of you. Keeping the elbows tucked firmly against the sides, extend the forearms to about 90 degrees, or out to the sides of your body. Keeping the elbows into the sides, palms facing downward, make small circular motions with both hands, as if you're waxing a car. Perform this circles about 20 times and then relax. You can do this exercise several times a day, suggests UCLA Ergonomics.

Back to the Wall

Stand with your back against a wall for a great exercise that helps you focus on posture and strengthen your upper back muscles. Try to press the entire length of your spine against the wall, sucking in your abs and slightly tucking your pelvis under so your lower back touches the wall as well. Hold this position, arms at your sides, palms facing outward. Slowly lift your arms in an arc, keeping your elbows pressed against the wall as you lift your arms outward and up over your head. Lower your arms.

Make Like a Turtle

To improve neck alignment and posture, stand with your back to a wall, suggests BodyZone. Press the back of your head against the wall and then, without moving any other body part, extend your chin forward, like a turtle sticking his head from his shell to check out the surroundings. Hold that extension for a few seconds and then retract, placing the back of the head against the wall again. You can repeat this exercise between 5 to 10 times, several times a day if you wish.

Abdominal Tucks

Improve posture by tucking in the abdominals. Strong abdominal muscles help provide support for the back, says I Love India. You can perform abdominal tucks several times a day, standing, sitting or on all fours on the floor. Standing, make an effort to suck in the lower abs, like you're trying to press your belly button into your spine. Hold the contraction for several seconds and then release. You can do the same thing when sitting in a chair, driving or working at the computer. Or, you can get on all fours on the floor, knees under the hips and arms under the shoulders. Tuck in the lower abs, tilting the pelvis under. Hold the contraction for several seconds and then release. You can do this 10 to 20 times several times a day.