Good posture isn’t just about looking an inch or two taller. An aligned spine also reduces your risk of chronic neck, back, and muscle pain.

While you could balance a book on your head, we have some better ideas for you. Here are 15 exercises to help you stave off the slouching.

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Are you sitting up straight right now? If yes, you go, Glen Coco! If not, we won’t judge you. Good posture can take time and practice, but it’s totes worth it.

For one thing, better posture = less pain. Studies suggest that slouching is a common culprit for stiff necks and achy backs. And according to research from 2008, proper posture reduces the stress on your ligaments, muscles, and joints.

Keeping that spine straight might even improve your mood. Research suggests that upright posture can reduce fatigue in folks with depressive symptoms. Standing tall can also boost self-confidence.

Now that you know the perks, here’s how to make that posture hap’n, cap’n.

This standing pose opens up your back and stretches your legs and hips. It can also reduce tension in your booty, hamstrings, and spine.

To do a Forward Fold:

  1. Stand with heels slightly apart and big toes together.
  2. Fold forward at hips.
  3. Slide your hands toward the floor.
  4. Slightly bend knees and relax hips.
  5. Tuck chin into chest and let your head fall toward the floor.
  6. Stay in this fold for up to 30 seconds.

Pro tip: Don’t worry if your hands can’t reach the floor! Just grab a yoga block and do the best you can.

This pose is a fan fave. It strengthens and aligns your back and can also relieve back pain.

To do Downward-Facing Dog:

  1. Lie facedown.
  2. Tuck in your toes and lift your heels.
  3. Plant hands flat on the floor under chest.
  4. Gently bend knees and lengthen spine.
  5. Press into your hands and lift pelvis up toward the sky.
  6. Tuck chin into chest and breathe deeply.
  7. Hold for 1 minute at a time.

Pro tip: Straighten your legs for the max effect.

Mountain Pose takes Downward Dog one step further. It’s great for strengthening your arms, abs, and butt.

To do Mountain Pose:

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart, keeping arms straight at your sides.
  2. Pull shoulders back to elongate your spine, turning your arms and hands out slightly to deepen the stretch. ⛰️.
  3. Hold for 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat as needed.

This classic pose lengthens your glutes and spine. It’s also relaxing AF.

To do Child’s Pose:

  1. Sit on your shinbones.
  2. Lean forward from your hips and slowly stretch arms out in front of you.
  3. Sink hips toward feet and breathe deeply.
  4. Rest your forehead on the floor.
  5. Place arms along your sides or keep them stretched out in front of you.
  6. Hold for up to 1 minute.

Pro tip: Place a pillow under your thighs if you need assistance. You can also turn your head to one side if that’s more comfy for you.

TBH, we wish this pose were called “CatDog” for nostalgia’s sake. But Cat-Cow is still a great stretch. It relaxes your spine and relieves tension in your shoulders, neck, and torso.

To do Cat-Cow:

  1. Start on hands and knees, balancing your weight evenly on all four limbs.
  2. Inhale as you look up, dropping abs toward the floor and extending your spine.
  3. Exhale as you arch your back toward the ceiling and tuck chin into chest.
  4. Continue these motions for at least 1 minute.

Pro tip: Chant “meow… moo…” instead of “om…” if you want to switch things up a bit 🐱🐮.

This is similar to a regular Cat-Cow, but it might give you a better bum and back stretch.

To do a standing Cat-Cow:

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart.
  2. Slightly bend your knees.
  3. Reach hands in front of you.
  4. Stretch your neck and bring chin into chest.
  5. Round your spine.
  6. Hold for 5–10 breaths.
  7. As you look up and lift your chest, move your spine in the opposite direction.
  8. Hold for 5–10 breaths.
  9. Repeat for several minutes.

Pro tip: Place your hands on your thighs if that’s easier for you.

Peeps go coo-coo for Pigeon Pose (and with good reason! 🐦 ). This killer hip opener loosens your hamstrings, glutes, and spine. It also stretches your quads and sciatic nerve.

To do Pigeon Pose:

  1. Start on all fours, with knees below hips.
  2. Place your hands in front of your shoulders.
  3. Bend right knee and rest it behind right wrist.
  4. Slide left leg back and straighten it.
  5. Rest left thigh on the floor.
  6. Lower your torso and rest on your inner right thigh.
  7. Extend arms in front of you.
  8. Hold for up to 1 minute.
  9. Repeat on the other side.

Pro tip: Make sure you extend your leg straight back — don’t let it slide to the side.

The high plank can help relieve pain throughout your whole bod. It’s hella good for strengthening your back, shoulders, abs, and hamstrings. We also stan for its ability to build balance.

To do a high plank:

  1. Get into a push-up position with your shoulders aligned.
  2. Soften your throat and look down to the floor.
  3. Keep your back perfectly straight and don’t let abs drop toward the floor.
  4. Hold for 1 minute at a time.

Pro tip: Be sure to engage your arms, abs, and legs.

Side planks are a fab way to fire up your obliques and glutes. They can also help you maintain the natural alignments of your legs and spine.

To do a side plank:

  1. Lie on your side and prop yourself up on your right forearm.
  2. Stack your ankles and raise your hips.
  3. Place left hand on hip.
  4. Engage your sides, abs, and glutes.
  5. Hold for 30 seconds before switching to the other side.

Pro tip: For a bigger challenge, lift your hand in the air instead of resting it on your hip. You can also drop a knee to the floor for more support.

This exercise lives up to its name, helping you open and stretch your chest. It’s a top-notch exercise if you sit behind a desk all day.

To do a chest opener:

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart.
  2. Bring arms behind you.
  3. Press palms together and interlace your fingers.
  4. Keep your spine aligned as you gaze straight ahead.
  5. Lift your chest.
  6. Breathe deeply as you hold this pose for 5 breaths.
  7. Release and relax for a few breaths.
  8. Repeat at least 10 times.

Pro tip: Grasp a towel or band if your hands don’t reach each other.

Your butt will thank you for this one 🍑 . This strengthening exercise activates your glutes and can relieve lower back pain. It also helps align your hips and pelvis.

To do glute squeezes:

  1. Lie faceup with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Keep your feet hip-width apart.
  3. Exhale as you lift your pelvis.
  4. Hold for 10 seconds.
  5. Continue for 1 minute. Repeat several times a day.

Pro tip: Be sure to squeeze those buns for max gains.

This exercise is a 10/10 at relieving pain and stiffness in your neck and upper back. It also works your arms and shoulders while increasing your overall strength.

To do isometric rows:

  1. Sit in a chair.
  2. Interlock hands behind back.
  3. Exhale as you pull elbows back into the chair.
  4. Squeeze shoulder blades together.
  5. Take deep breaths as you hold for 10 seconds.
  6. Slowly release and return to the starting position.
  7. Repeat for 1 minute.

Pro tip: Do this exercise throughout the day, even if you’re at work. (Carol in accounting won’t notice, we promise.)

This exercise helps increase stability and mobility. It’s also legit if you want to ease back tightness or pain.

To do a thoracic spine rotation:

  1. Start on all fours.
  2. Sink hips toward heels and rest on your shins.
  3. Place left hand behind left ear.
  4. Extend left elbow to the side.
  5. Keep right forearm on the floor.
  6. Exhale as you rotate left elbow toward the sky.
  7. Stretch the front of your torso.
  8. Repeat 10 times before switching to the other side.

This baby’s all about balance. Tree Pose can help you feel centered and grounded while enhancing your posture.

To do Tree Pose:

  1. Stand with feet together.
  2. Touch your knees together and keep feet facing forward.
  3. Lift right leg and press the sole of your foot into left thigh.
  4. Square your hips and press your palms together.
  5. Take several deep breaths.
  6. Repeat on the other side.

PSA: Don’t feel bad if you can’t hold this position for long. Stand near a wall or table for assistance.

Get your snake on with this spine stretch 🐍 . It strengthens your upper body and helps open up your chest. It’ll also strengthen your shoulders and butt.

To do Cobra Pose:

  1. Lie facedown with legs extended behind you.
  2. Place toes on the floor.
  3. Bring legs close together.
  4. Place hands on the floor.
  5. Spread your fingers and push down.
  6. Lift head, chest, and shoulders off the floor.
  7. Press your pubic bone into the floor.
  8. Arch your back and push chest up.
  9. Take deep breaths as you hold the pose for 10 seconds.
  10. Repeat 10 times.

Good posture is super important. It prevents pain, promotes healthy digestion, and can even improve your mood. These 15 exercises will help you stand tall as you increase your overall flexibility and strength.