“Correcting your posture not only makes you look better, but it powers up your metabolism which helps melt off your muffin top,” says Lisa Lynn, fitness/metabolic nutrition expert and the author of The Metabolism Solution. “It takes more effort to maintain good posture, which is why proper posture burns more calories than slouching. Proper posture also improves respiration, which improves blood flow and revs up your metabolism.”
Unfortunately the desk jobs most people have makes developing a slouching habit — and eventually back pain — near inevitable. The solution: strengthen your core. With that in mind, we asked Lynn to single out four core workout moves, which help improve posture by working the muscles that help pull our shoulders back to offset the gravitational pull that we encounter sitting at our desk and slouching.
Try these four moves — which all together take less than five minutes — for five consecutive days, and you should already start to feel an improvement.
1. Side core raise
Lying on your side on your elbows, lift your body off the floor using your core. You can use an arm or leg to help at first if this is too much of a challenge. Conversely, if this is too easy, lift your upper leg into the air. Hold this posture for 30 seconds before switching to the other side.
2. The plank
Start on all fours. Come up onto your elbows and toes using your abs to lift your body. Tighten your core and make sure your back is flat. Aim to hold this posture for at least one minute. To make this move more challenging you can opt to lift one leg in the air for 10 seconds and then alternate with the other one for 10 seconds.
3. Lying rear fly
Lying face down with your palms facing your torso raise your upper body up and your arms back and to the sides as if you were doing a reverse fly. Make sure your elbows are at shoulder height and your arms are nearly parallel to the floor. Repeat this move for at least 30 seconds. To make this exercise more challenging, you can opt to have a dumbbell in each hand.
4. Tricep dips
Place your hands at the edge of your seat and lower your body till it nearly touches the floor, using your arms to raise yourself back up. Be sure to keep your body close to the seat/chair and squeeze your arms at the top of the move. To make this move more challenging you can reach your hand to touch your opposite toe each time you lower down. Aim to do this exercise for at least 30 seconds.