We are community supported and may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Learn more

7 Effective Stretches to Improve Your Posture

By Lex Gonzales January 25, 2022 Health and Fitness

Do you feel like your posture is not what it used to be? You may have forgotten how good it feels to stand tall and straight.

Moreover, did you know that bad posture can lead to a host of health problems?

It’s true! Poor posture can cause back pain, neck pain, and even headaches.

In this article, I will share with you 7 different stretches that can help improve your posture and get you back on track to feeling great again!

What Is a Postural Stretching Exercise?

If you feel pain in your neck or back, or you find yourself slouching too often, you may benefit from practicing postural stretching exercises.

A postural stretching exercise is a type of stretching exercise that is designed to improve your posture.

By stretching the muscles that support your posture, you can achieve better alignment and reduce pain. In fact, stretching is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and can help improve your posture.

When you stretch regularly, you lengthen your muscles, increase your flexibility, and improve your circulation. Stretching also helps to relieve tension and stress, making it a great way to relax after a long day.

There are many different types of postural stretching exercises, so it is important to find the ones that work best for you.

What Are the Seven Effective Stretches to Get You Started?

Side Neck Stretch

Side Neck Stretch
  1. Sit erect with both feet flat on the floor.
  2. Tilt your head toward one side until you feel a stretch on the muscles on the opposite side of your neck.
  3. Hold for 15 seconds.
  4. Return to the starting position.
  5. Perform 10 repetitions on each side.

This stretching exercise will improve the flexibility of the muscles on the side of your neck. This is especially important if you tend to keep your head in one position for long periods, e.g., reading or watching TV.

Butterfly Stretch

Butterfly Stretch
  1. Sit erect with both feet flat on the floor.
  2. While raising both elbows in front of you, reach for your ears with your hands on both sides.
  3. Keeping your hands on your ears, open your elbows out to the side as far as you can until you feel a stretch in front of your chest.
  4. Hold the position for 30 seconds.
  5. Slowly return to the starting position.
  6. Perform 5-8 repetitions.

This stretching exercise will stretch the muscles in front of your chest. This muscle group tends to tighten as you spend long hours during the day sitting or slumped in a “rounded shoulders” position.

Sitting Spine and Arm Extension

Sitting Spine and Arm Extension
  1. Sit erect with both feet flat on the floor.
  2. Raise both arms up in front of you.
  3. Reach as high as you can while extending your spine.
  4. Hold for 3-5 seconds.
  5. Slowly return to the starting position.
  6. Perform 5-8 repetitions.

This stretching exercise will help straighten your spine and improve your posture – a great antidote to a “slumped posture.”

Door Stretch

Door Stretch
  1. Stand in a door frame and place your arms out to your sides, placing your forearms against the frame.
  2. Slowly lean or step forward until you feel a light stretch in the chest and shoulders.
  3. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and return to the starting position.
  4. Perform 8-10 repetitions.

This stretching exercise will improve your posture by stretching the tight muscles in your chest and shoulders.

“W” Wall Stretch

"W" Wall Stretch
  1. Stand with your upper back and buttocks against a wall.
  2. Raise both arms to the side with the back of your hands against the wall.
  3. Slowly slide both hands up as high as you can, keeping the back of your hands and elbows against the wall.
  4. Slowly slide both hands down to get back to their original position.
  5. Perform 8-10 repetitions.

This stretching exercise will improve your posture by aligning your head and spine in one plane while stretching your arm and shoulder muscles.

Standing Hip Flexor Stretch

Standing Hip Flexor Stretch
  1. Stand 8-12 inches from a chair and place your left foot on the seat of a chair.
  2. While keeping your trunk upright, bring your left knee forward until you feel a stretch on your right hip.
  3. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, then return to the original position.
  4. Repeat instructions on the other leg.
  5. Perform 5 repetitions on each side.

This stretching exercise will improve the flexibility of the muscles in front of your hips, preventing them from pulling on your low back.

Standing Calf Stretch

Standing Calf Stretch
  1. Stand 8-12 inches away from a wall.
  2. Tilt one foot up against the wall while keeping the heel down on the floor.
  3. Lean your body forward until you feel a stretch at the back of your leg.
  4. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, then return to the original position.
  5. Perform 8-10 repetitions on each side.

This exercise will not only improve the flexibility of the muscles in your leg and foot, it is also a great exercise for balance and fall prevention.

I hope you’ll find these stretching exercises helpful in improving your posture and relieving any pain from tight muscles.

Not only does stretching exercises help to improve the flexibility of your muscles, but it can also help to align your head and spine.

While stretching won’t cure a bad habit of slouching, it will help keep your neck and back healthy as well as improve the flexibility of other joints like your ankles, knees, and hips.

Do you find yourself slouching unconsciously? What exercises help you improve your posture? Do you have a favorite stretching technique?

Let's Have a Conversation!

The Author

Dr. Lex Gonzales, PT, DPT received his degree of Doctor of Physical Therapy from the University of South Florida in the USA. He has been a physiotherapist for over 24 years with a special interest in the geriatric or older adult population. Visit him at drlexgonzales.com.

You Might Also Like