Don't be a slouch -- stand tall while working out

Community Times

We know how important working out and staying active are, but there's an additional component to working out that more people need to be aware of. Posture and form are crucial to a successful workout. Without proper posture and form, people put themselves at risk for injury, not working the targeted muscles, and having an unsuccessful workout.

Unfortunately, too many people don't even think about proper form and posture on a daily basis, let alone while working out. People with desk jobs tend to be hunched over from sitting for such long periods of time, while people who have little experience playing athletic sports tend to slouch and do not maintain an athletic stance. There are so many issues that could be caused by poor posture, yet so many people don't even pay attention to how they sit, stand or exercise.

Posture affects everything that you do without even realizing it, from walking to running to picking up something off the floor to sitting to exercising and more. Improper posture has a negative effect on our everyday tasks and only worsens over time. The good news is that poor posture is correctable and reversible for most people with time, effort and a conscious knowledge of our body's position.

Prior to even beginning an exercise regimen, especially one involving lifting weights, proper form and posture need to be established. Body-weight exercises are a great tool to ensure proper form prior to adding weights to an exercise. For example, do body-weight squats and ensure proper form (head up, back straight, hips pushed back and low), and then once this is easily accomplished, it's a good idea to add external resistance, like dumbbells or a barbell. From there, moving on to different exercises and ensuring good posture become much easier, especially as you get stronger.

The keys to correct posture and form for just about any exercise are to keep your head up and straight, keep your back in line and keep your chest high. Each of these components is important for avoiding injuries and making sure that the targeted muscles are being worked. Proper form while exercising is also beneficial for breathing, as standing tall lengthens airways and provides us plenty of room for oxygen, which is extremely important for any type of workout. If you maintain good posture during your workout, you are much more likely to improve and reach your health and fitness goals.

In addition to injury prevention, proper posture and form simply make you stronger. I feel much stronger and more powerful when I stand tall and keep my body in line than when I hunch over and keep my head down. Feeling strong and powerful and being in a good place mentally from maintaining good posture will lead to a more successful workout and feeling great afterward. Consider this every day and feel better about yourself overall, even when not working out. Confidence can make a typical workout and day much more enjoyable and beneficial.

More people need to pay attention to their posture every day and think about how it affects their body. When it comes to exercise, proper posture and form are extremely important for injury prevention. Once you practice correct posture in everyday life, it becomes that much easier while working out. So, remember to stay tall — if you're short like me, this could help us out some — and take better care of your muscles, bones and joints by maintaining good posture.

Try this while sitting at the desk at work, walking around, working out and in every task you undertake. I guarantee that thinking about and keeping good daily posture will help your body feel more loose, energized and confident in everything that you do.

Amanda Oppenheim is a graduate of Stevenson University and can be reached at

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