Back exercises for good posture

How your posture can also affect your mood

A beautiful back can be captivating. But what's even more appealing is a strong and healthy back. Did you know that having good posture also affects your mood? Many exercises can be done at home without any equipment and will quickly have a positive effect on your posture. Here are six exercises to strengthen your back that can also have a positive impact on how you feel.

The benefits of an upright posture

In the 2020 Back Report for Switzerland, 88% of those surveyed said that they had suffered from back pain at least once a year. If you apply this figure to the entire population of Switzerland, that means that 8 out of 10 people are sure to suffer from back pain at least once in their life.

A healthy and strong back is not just important in your day-to-day life, but it also helps to prevent aches and to boost your mood. Embodiment research indicates that there is a clear relationship between posture and mood. They affect each other: our mood can impact our posture and facial expression, and vice versa.

Good posture has a positive influence on our feeling of self-worth. A slumped position reduces this positive feeling: if you let your shoulders dip and have a rounded back, your negative thoughts increase. But if you walk around with good posture, you feel stronger, better and more open. The body signals to the mind that things are looking up.

Sitting or standing up straight is not just good for the mind but also for your spine. Healthy posture can prevent or minimise back pain. In their daily routine, many people have the tendency to sit for long periods with a rounded back or to stand with a hollow back. There is no clear guideline on how many minutes per day you can sit like this. Just as everybody is different, every spine is different. Exercise is the answer here. If you spend most of your time at work in front of a computer, then it's important to change position often. You may very well sit in front of your laptop with a rounded back. A variety of positions is good for your back. keep changing your position now and again, and stand up once in a while. If you have a job where you're often standing then try to make sure that you aren't standing with a hollow back the whole time.

The benefits of a healthy and straight posture are:

  •  Less back pain
  • A positive influence on the mind
  • Boosts self-confidence and gives you better powers of persuasion
  • Makes both men and women look more attractive
  • Helps combat fatigue

Six healthy exercises for your back

These exercises don't require any equipment and are a gentle way to train your back. Repeat the exercises two to three times per week for the best results

Exercise 1: squat with arms overhead in a V position

Objective: to achieve the correct posture and to strengthen the back.

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Pull your abdominal wall in and lift up your breastbone. Imagine that you're growing taller and that your spine is being stretched out.
    Now squat down as much as you can while still being able to maintain a neutral back position (imagine that you're sitting on an invisible chair). Reach your arms straight up and hold them next to your ears. Keep your shoulders down and your neck long.
  • Variation: To make the exercise more difficult, use a wider stance. To make it easier stand with your feet closer together.
  • Ten repetitions

Exercise 2: squat pointer

Objective: to promote balance and stabilise the spine.

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Pull your abdominal wall in and lift up your breastbone. Imagine that you're trying to zip up some tight trousers.
  • Squat down, and as you stand up again, lift one arm up and stretch out the opposite leg. You can bend the leg you're standing on slightly. Every time you stand up from the squat, switch the arm and leg.
  • Ten repetitions

Exercise 3: flamingo stand and rotating alternate sides

Objective: stabilise the pelvis and mobilise the spine.

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend one leg slightly. Make sure not to let your hips drop down. Twist only your torso and your bent arms to the flexed leg. Alternate sides.
  • While you're rotating, draw your stomach in and lift up your breastbone.
  • Eight repetitions per side

Exercise 4: thread-the-needle

Objective: to promote shoulder stability, the strength of the supporting arm, shoulder mobility of the active arm and mobility of the spine.

  • Lay a mat on the floor and get on all fours. The hips should be positioned over the knees and your shoulders over your wrists. Pull your shoulders away from your ears.
  • As you breathe in, lift your left hand from the floor and rotate your arm to point up at the ceiling. When you breathe out, bend the supporting arm slightly and "thread" your left arm between your right arm and right leg. Have your gaze follow the active arm.
  • Eight repetitions on each side

Exercise 5: shoulder bridge with diagonal arm

Objective: to improve mobility of the spine and relieve and loosen up the lower back.

  • Lie down on a mat on your back. Bend your knees and bring your feet close to your bottom. Pull your shoulders down away from your ears.
  • As your breathe in, lift your pelvis up, release one arm and rotate it to the opposite side. The left arm goes over the right side of the head. Every time you breathe, change sides.
  • To make the exercise harder, spread your feet out wider on the mat. Moving your feet closer together makes it easier.
  • Eight repetitions on each side

Exercise 6: kneeling plank with single arm reach

Objective: to improve the stability of the spine, stabilise and strengthen the shoulders, and strengthen the glutes.

  • Get into the press-up position. You can put your knees down on the floor to support yourself. Press up to lift your body from the floor. Be careful not to let your upper back sag down. Pull your abdominal wall in and tense your pelvis slightly.
  • Shift your weight from one side to the other and stretch one arm out at a time without moving your back or pelvis. It's not important how high you stretch your arm, but rather that you stretch your arm out in front of you.
  • You can make the exercise easier by increasing the distance between your legs and/or reducing the distance between your hands. It becomes more difficult if you bring your knees closer together (which requires more balance) and increase the distance between your hands.
  • Four to eight repetitions on each side

Clothes can help to boost your back health as well. Get a 20% discount on posture clothing from Anodyne®

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SWICA – Because health is everything

Being active pays off. SWICA – unlike many other health insurance companies – supports your personal commitment through a wide range of activities and offers relating to health promotion and preventive healthcare. Whether you're looking for mindfulness training, massage, yoga, tai chi, fitness courses, swimming lessons, breathing exercises, personal training, nutrition, tennis or something else, you enjoy attractive contributions of up to 800 francs per year from the COMPLETA PRAEVENTA and OPTIMA supplementary insurance plans (see detailed information).

Incidentally, supplementary insurance always provides valuable additional benefits above and beyond those available under basic insurance. It can be taken out with SWICA at any time, regardless of which insurer currently provides your basic insurance.

 

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