Good Moves

Feel Like the Weight of the World Is on Your Shoulders? Try This 10-minute Pilates Routine for Better Posture

When it comes to reminders to improve your posture, it’s easy to relax your shoulders and bolt up straight—but that only lasts a few seconds. Posture improvement has come a long way since the old school image of teachers poking students with a ruler, and beckoning them to sit up straight at their desks. In the most recent episode of Good Moves, Pilates instructor Brian Spencer takes viewers through a workout that strengthens and stretches critical muscles like the glutes, shoulders, and legs for better posture and less lower back pain.

The glutes and the shoulders, according to the Mayo Clinic, are important for postural support for different but equally important reasons. The glutes can stabilize the hips and support your lower body, while your shoulders support your neck and chest (especially if you have large breasts). Strengthening these bodily areas can improve your upright posture and prevent shoulder, neck, or lower back pain, according to the Mayo Clinic. Additionally, they also state that good posture can decrease the weight placed on joints, ligaments, and muscles, reducing your risk of pain.

Spencer starts the workout with smaller, unique moves like standing on a yoga block with one foot and slowly dipping the other foot toward the ground. He says that humans are one-legged animals: meaning we walk, climb stairs, and run with one foot at a time. As a result, giving each leg and its muscles some good old TLC makes sense. Later in the exercise, he says, “whew, I am feeling the wobble, but that is good because it means that my muscles are learning new ways to support themselves, and my stamina is being tested.”

If this isn’t already an enormous amount of persuasion to tune in, Spencer also leads this Pilates session with an enthusiastic, supportive voice that will make you forget you’re trying to improve your posture. If teachers with rulers were the posture improvers of yore, Spencer is a dynamic example of a creative and compassionate approach to getting stronger bit by bit.

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