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Straighten Out
Your Posture

The surefire way to look taller, slimmer and more powerful

Straighten out your posture
Straighten out your posture

Modern technology has improved our lives in countless ways, but one downside is that it's been terrible for our posture. If you're reading this at your desk or on your phone, chances are, you're bending toward the screen and your posture could be better. Maybe you're working from home—the laptop/sofa combo is notorious for causing all sorts of bodily pain. Do yourself a favor: Pull your head back in line with the rest of your body and then shift your shoulders back. Now breathe in ... feel that? Nice right? Plainly put, improve your posture and you improve your life.

First, standing straight makes you taller and because your shoulders are pulled back, they look broader and your waist looks slimmer. You appear more confident and powerful because slouching makes you look weak. But you don't just look better, you physically feel better too. That's because when your head, neck and spine are appropriately positioned, the muscles, bones and joints that support them aren't strained. This means it's easier to breathe and to move, too. You'll also notice less stiffness in your neck and back, along with fewer headaches. Sounds pretty good, right? And the best part is that it's not difficult to fix, nor is it too late to start. Rounded shoulders and a hunched stance may seem like they're set in stone by the time we reach a certain age, doctors at Harvard Medical School have proven that it's possible to make improvements to perk up your posture.

You simply need to remember to keep correcting—set reminders on your phone in the beginning—and incorporate some stretches into your daily life. We've got a few quick and easy exercises you can do throughout the day to realign your spine. In no time, your body will fall in line naturally.

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Throughout the Day

Waiting in line stretch

Waiting in Line

It's become reflexive to pull out your phone and scroll during downtime, but use this time to let your mind wander. It's also the ideal time to get in a few stretches. These feel great and we found they also keep people from standing too close behind you.

Try It

Stand up straight. Bring your hands behind you and join your palms. Press your arms straight back and hold for 10 seconds. Release and repeat three times.

Sitting at your desk stretch

Sitting at Your Desk

Haunching over a keyboard easily slumps the shoulders. It also tenses and tightens the muscles around the ribcage. You also take in less oxygen, which leads to fatigue. Be sure to sit as far back in your chair as you can to keep your spine straight and do this exercise whenever you sit down or feel tight.

Try It

Sit with your feet flat on the floor. Twist to the left, resting your hand on your outer thigh. Hold for three breaths and then repeat on the other side.

At home stretch

At Home

You're welcome to collapse into the couch and relax. But take some time when you get up to stretch out your back and shoulders while opening up your chest.

Try It

Bend your left arm behind you, palm out. Raise and bend your right arm behind your head, reaching for your left hand. Clasp your fingers together (if you can reach) and hold for three breaths. Then switch arms and repeat.

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A Little Extra Help

This soft neoprene posture-correcting brace is particularly useful for those with hunched shoulders. The discreet design can fit under clothing, has padded straps to reduce friction on the skin, and is worn like a backpack. Wear it regularly for a few hours each day, and you can help train your muscles and improve your posture over time.

$19.99 by Gaiam

Avoid the
cell phone slump

Throw blanket sizing illustration

Your head weighs about 11 pounds (about the same as bowling ball). With good posture, your head essentially balances on top of your spinal column. With just a 15-degree tilt forward, that bowling ball noggin feels like 27 pounds. At 30 degrees, it increases to 40 pounds. When you tilt your head forward 45 degrees, it's exerting nearly 50 pounds of force on the muscles and joints of your upper body. How do you prevent this? Bring your phone up closer to eye level.

The Smart Way
to Start Your Day

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