You may remember your older family members constantly telling you “sit up straight” or “stop slouching” when you were a child. As much as you might hate it, it turns out that they were right. Sure, seeing someone slouch while they walk or sit looks funny, but did you know that poor posture can effect both physical and mental health? Poor posture has been linked to a number of health problems, including depression, muscle pain, fatigue, stress, low confidence and low self-esteem.

Proper posture can be difficult to maintain, especially if you’re already in the habit of slouching. Some of the best ways to improve your posture include sitting with your back aligned against your chair, standing with your weight even, and driving your car with your back firmly against the seat, and performing exercises that keep you strong and straighten your core. Improving your posture means improving your physical and mental health. Here are ten exercises you can perform to achieve the perfect posture:

1. Warm Up

  1. Lie on your back with both legs stretched out.
  2. Pull one leg up at a time and hold the stretch for a few seconds.
  3. Return to starting position, and repeat for each leg.

leg stretch

2. Twist

  1. Place your right foot on your left knee.
  2. Turn your head to the right and lower your right leg to the floor.
  3. Press your shoulder blades down, then repeat the exercise with your other leg.


3. Back Stretch

  1. Hold your legs under your knees and pull your knees to your chest.
  2. Lift your head and bring your knees to your chin.
  3. Hold for 20-30 seconds, then repeat.


4. Cat Pose

  1. Position your body on all fours.
  2. Keep your hands directly under your shoulders.
  3. Curve your back up slowly, then slowly down.
  4. Repeat the exercise 10 times.

5. Backbone Stretch

  1. Lie on your back and with both feet resting on the floor; rest your right foot on your left thigh.
  2. Lower your legs to the left; hold for a few seconds.
  3. Repeat the exercise with the opposite leg. (Do not perform this stretch if you have lower back or hip problems.)


6. Classic Crunch

  1. Lie on your back and bend your knees at 90 degrees, feet resting on the floor.
  2. Slowly lift your body toward your knees while keeping the abs tight.
  3. Keep your head slightly lifted.
  4. Repeat.


7. Shoulder Stretch

  1. Place your left foot on your right knee.
  2. Pull your right shoulder toward your left knee.
  3. Switch legs and do the stretch for your other shoulder.

one leg sit up

8. Thigh Lift

  1. Lie on your side and set your left elbow against the floor.
  2. Bend your knees, keep your right hand on your hip, and place your right leg over your left.
  3. Raise your left leg.
  4. Repeat the exercise 10 times for each side.

9. Plank

  1. Start on all fours, with your forearms on the floor; slowly extend your legs and raise your body, with your forearms and toes as anchors. Make sure your body is in a straight line.
  2. Squeeze your abdominals and keep your body tight.
  3. Hold for 15-30 seconds, rest then repeat.


David Wolfe
San Francisco State University
Kansas Chiropractic Foundation