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Give the muscles in your upper back and shoulders some love, and they’ll reward you by helping you stand a little taller.
The Renew You Challenge is the newest health and wellness experience from Renew by UnitedHealthcare® to help inspire you to take charge of your well-being every day. Every weekday in October, we’re sharing new ideas to help build up your body, mind and spirit.
Did reading this headline lead you to pull your shoulders back and straighten your spine? Good posture is something we all strive for. But so much of what we do in a day counts against that goal. Just think about how many times a day you’re looking down — either at a sink full of dishes, a good book, a crossword puzzle or an alert on your smartphone.
A hunched over position is so common in modern life that it’s almost a default stance. No surprise, this isn’t great news for your posture. And poor posture can be bad news for your overall fitness, says Robert Linkul, C.S.C.S., a certified personal trainer who specializes in working with older adults.
For one thing, you may experience neck or back pain. Slouching can also become one more energy drain in a busy day, he adds, because it can limit proper breathing and strain your muscles and ligaments.
Fortunately, good posture is something you can work on with strength training. Core exercises, like the Incline “Push-Up” Plank that you learned on Day 1 of the Challenge, will help. But it’s also important to include exercises that will strengthen your upper back, shoulders, chest and even your upper arms. These are the muscles that are, in many ways, in charge of your posture.
Try This Today! The Straight Arm Pull-Down
Not only does this one move strengthen those muscles we just discussed, but it’s also a good way to help improve and maintain full range of motion in your upper body. First, make sure you have your doctor’s OK to exercise. Then, all you need to do is press play and follow along. Aim to do this exercise three times each week.
Try This Strength Training Workout for Better Posture
Renew gives you the tools, tips and resources you need to start a fitness routine— including a series of Renew You Challenge Workouts from strength coach Lou Schuler. His Strength Training Workout for Better Posture features the Straight Arm Pull-Down, plus additional moves that are great for many fitness levels. UnitedHealthcare® Medicare Advantage members can find them here. Not a member? Learn more here.
Catch up with the Renew You Challenge: