By Emma Stessman
Remember all those times your mom told you to “quit slouching!” as a kid? It turns out, her advice was definitely warranted.
According to Dr. Karen Joubert, a Hollywood physical therapist (whose client list includes Jennifer Aniston, Shaun White and Cher), having good posture can boost your confidence, help you breathe better, relieve back pain, and even improve your, uh, regularity in the bathroom.
Unfortunately, our lifestyles feed into bad posture, Dr. Joubert says. The amount of time we spend sitting with our heads bent over computers and cell phones can have a huge impact on our spines and muscles.
But here’s the good news: with a little practice and a few exercises, your posture can improve and you can start reaping some of these amazing benefits. Below, we’re sharing some of Dr. Joubert’s simple tips for better posture. Try adding these to your routine starting today and “your body will thank you,” Dr. Joubert says.
5 Tips For Better Posture
1. Adjust your working position
Turns out, if you’re taking the “lap” part of laptop literally, it might be wreaking havoc on your posture. According to Dr. Joubert, your computer should be at eye-level and your arms should form a 90-degree angle. When sitting, she suggests using a footrest to ensure that your knees are level with your hips. If you have a standing desk, keep your chin parallel to the floor, your abs engaged and your shoulders down and back.
2. Take standing breaks
Here’s big one for all the nine-to-five desk sitters. “Stand and walk for a few minutes every 30 minutes,” Dr. Joubert says. As you’re standing, keep your weight evenly distributed between your feet.
3. Practice dynamic breathing
It’s pretty well-known that deep breathing exercises are great way to calm yourself down when you’re feeling stressed or anxious, but when done the right way, they can also work to improve your posture. Inhale through your nose to the count of three and hold for three seconds, then slowly release the air for four seconds. Follow your release by squeezing your shoulder blades, “Gently, without force, think of pulling your shoulder blades down and back into your pant pockets,” Dr. Joubert says. Repeat the process 10 times.
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4. Make your posture a part of your workout routine
“Every exercise you do can be an intricate part of your posture program,” says Dr. Joubert. “Hold yourself upright when you are on the treadmill or stationary bike. Use your abdominal bracing, roll your shoulders back, and practice balance.”
5. Try wall angels
This is Dr. Joubert’s favorite posture-improving exercise, and it’s a super simple one that you can do every day. Stand with your back against the wall. Feet shoulder width apart and your weight evenly distributed. Open your arms with the palms facing out, bend at your elbows and slide the arms up and down above your head (think snow angel). If your head can’t comfortably rest on the wall, try putting small rolled towel behind the neck. Do this exercise ten times, while breathing slowly and evenly.
(Featured Photo: Shutterstock)