12 Months of Fitness: Challenge #3 – Focus on Better Posture

Are you ready for your third 12 Months of Fitness (#12MoF) challenge? Check out the introduction to 12 Months of Fitness here. My testers have been tackling this challenge since mid-February and are sharing their experiences with focusing on better posture.

Are you ready for your third 12 Months of Fitness (#12MoF) challenge? Check out the introduction to 12 Months of Fitness here. My testers have been tackling this challenge since mid-February and are sharing their experiences with focusing on better posture.

12 Months of Fitness: Challenge #3 – Focus on Better Posture

12 Months of Fitness: Challenge #2 - Focus on Better Posture

For the next month, your goal is to stand up straight for at least 30 minutes a day. Standing up straight not only engages your core and back muscles but it also helps your lungs circulate air better which leads to less fatigue. I know that this sounds like a ridiculously silly challenge but science experts have proven that improving your posture leads to better exercise habits and overall health. You also look slimmer if you stand up straight. I know for a fact that once I began focusing on my posture and engaging my core (particularly during cardio workouts) I noticed a positive change in my ab workouts and ability to lift heavier weights. Here's a few suggestions to get you going:

  • When you’re doing your cardio – stand up straight. Instead of leaning forward on the treadmill or elliptical, focus on your posture and engaging your core during your entire workout.
  • Stand up straight when you walk or run up hill. This is will also force you to use your glutes and quads!
  • Sit in your office chair with your feet on the floor and your back against the chair’s back. If inclined, flex your abs as you sit and work.
  • Practice doing planks daily. Start with trying to do one rep of 30 seconds and build from there. This will help you learn the feel of a neutral spine and improve your core.
  • Ye Olde Book Exercise – during your favorite half hour sitcom, sit or stand with a book on your head and use good posture to keep it there.
  • Practice proper form during strength
    training – engage your core while you squat, curl, and lunge. With regular
    focus on this, you may notice a change in how much weight you can lift.
  • Do yoga or Pilates. It was practitioners of yoga who first noticed a correlation between doing yoga and better abs and back muscles. Yoga and Pilates forces you to use your core to move into and hold each pose successfully. Not sure where to start? Try one of my favorite yoga DVDs (both are perfect for beginners): Rodney Yee's Yoga for Beginners OR The Firm: Power Yoga

And to help you stay motivated, here's how it's working out for our #12MoF testers (you can meet them over on our Facebook page!):

"I tried to become more aware of how I was sitting while at work. It's easy to get hunched over when at a computer most of the day! At the gym, I started focusing on my posture while running and working out on the elliptical. I glanced in the mirror to see that I did look thinner when standing straight (and much more confident). Finally, my fiancé showed me how to do planks. While he's much better at holding the positions than I am–especially the side planks…yikes!

I'm determined to get good at this. The next day, I felt like I had done a million sit-ups. The simple moves definitely gave my core a much-needed wake-up call." {Kaleena}

"I have been checking in with myself every 20 or so minutes at work to make sure my posture is correct. I also ask my fiance to let me know if I am slumping forward. I have found both of these things to be very helpful. I feel better about myself and my back hurts less!" {Kayla}

"I've adopted this change through yoga. I've been going to a vinyasa-style yoga class 1-2 times a week, and it is making a HUGE difference. I find myself walking and sitting straighter throughout the day because yoga has taught me how my body should feel when it's properly aligned. I'm also starting to see changes in my silhouette and muscle tone. I really can't recommend yoga enough for the physical, mental, and spiritual benefits!" {Elizabeth}

"This was a tough challenge because it was easy to forget. I tried to be mindful of it particularly when I was sitting at my computer. When I did yoga regularly I naturally stood up straighter but now that I don't do it often, it takes a conscious effort. Definitely a tough challenge." {Ariella}

See? You CAN do it! Share your #12MoF struggles/triumphs with Tulle Nation on Twitter, our Facebook page, or take photos on Instagram. Be sure to use the hastag #12MoF so we can all support you!

12 Months of Fitness: Challenge #1 - Drink More Water