No amount of exercise will cause your bones to lengthen, but stretching and strengthening exercises can improve your posture so you stand up straighter. Sitting throughout the day is common to a fairly sedentary lifestyle. Using the equipment at the gym to stretch your spine and correct poor posture will combat habits that lead to slouching.
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Every gym has some kind of pull-up bar or hanging station. Simply hang from this bar. Hanging lets gravity gently pull and lengthen your spine, increasing the distance between your vertebrae. This is a simple way to stretch your arms, back and even your legs. Hold the bar with your palms facing forward and your hands close together. Hang and stretch for 20 seconds. If possible, use a bar that lets your entire body hang with your legs straight. Bend your knees if you cannot find a high enough bar. While you hang, pay attention to what areas feel tight and resist letting go. These places may be areas of extra tension or knots, and you may want to consult a fitness professional at the gym on how to stretch your trouble spots.
Roman Chair Lower Ab Leg Lifts
Strengthening the lower abdominals supports your spine and helps you stand up straighter. Strong lower abdominals can correct an anterior pelvic tilt, which is when you stick your butt out. Returning your spine to its normal curve, assisted by strong abs, will lengthen your spine upward so you stand up taller. To work your lower abs at the gym, locate the upright Roman chair, hanging leg station or a captain's chair. Hang from the bar, or hang your lower body straight down with your upper body supported on the arm rests of the chair. Place your back against the back pad, if there is one. Then, squeeze your tummy and press your legs together. Bend your knees and pull them toward your chest with a smooth motion. Lower your legs straight again.
Take advantage of the gym's mats used for core and stretching exercises to do the locust. The locust exercise is a yoga pose that strengthens the middle back, upper back and spine muscles so you can stand up tall. Without strong back muscles, your body has no choice but to slump and round your shoulders. Locust done correctly has your shoulders pulled down and back and your chest open wide to emphasize correct posture. To do the locust, lie on your stomach. Hold your arms at your sides and touch the tops of your feet to the floor. Press your legs together and hold them straight. Begin with your forehead touching the floor so your neck is straight in line with your spine. Then, pinch your shoulder blades together as you lift your legs, arms, head and chest off the floor a few inches. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds and breathe deeply. Return to the floor.