Having good posture is about more than looking good. It helps you to develop strength, flexibility, and balance in your body. These can all lead to less muscle pain and more energy throughout the day. Proper posture also reduces stress on your muscles and ligaments, which can reduce your risk of injury.

Improving your posture also helps you become more aware of your muscles, making it easier to correct your own posture. As you work on your posture and become more aware of your body, you might even notice some imbalances or areas of tightness you weren’t previously aware of.

Read on to learn how to do 12 exercises that’ll help you stand a little taller.

This resting pose stretches and lengthens your spine, glutes, and hamstrings. The child’s pose helps to release tension in your lower back and neck.

To do this:

  1. Sit on your shinbones with your knees together, your big toes touching, and your heels splayed out to the side.
  2. Fold forward at your hips and walk your hands out in front of you.
  3. Sink your hips back down toward your feet. If your thighs won’t go all the way down, place a pillow or folded blanket under them for support.
  4. Gently place your forehead on the floor or turn your head to one side.
  5. Keep your arms extended or rest them along your body.
  6. Breathe deeply into the back of your rib cage and waist.
  7. Relax in this pose for up to 5 minutes while continuing to breathe deeply.

This standing stretch releases tension in your spine, hamstrings, and glutes. It also stretches your hips and legs. While doing this stretch, you should feel the entire back side of your body opening up and lengthening.

To do this:

  1. Stand with your big toes touching and your heels slightly apart.
  2. Bring your hands to your hips and fold forward at your hips.
  3. Release your hands toward the floor or place them on a block. Don’t worry if your hands don’t touch the ground — just go as far as you can.
  4. Bend your knees slightly, soften your hips joints, and allow your spine to lengthen.
  5. Tuck your chin into your chest and allow your head to fall heavy to the floor.
  6. Remain in this pose for up to 1 minute.

Practicing cat cow stretches and massages your spine. It also helps to relieve tension in your torso, shoulders, and neck while promoting blood circulation.

To do this:

  1. Come onto your hands and knees with your weight balanced evenly between all four points.
  2. Inhale to look up, dropping your abdomen down toward the ground as you extend your spine.
  3. Exhale and arch your spine toward the ceiling and tuck your chin into your chest.
  4. Continue this movement for at least 1 minute.

Doing the cat cow stretch while standing helps to loosen up tightness in your back, hips, and glutes.

To do this:

  1. Stand with your feet about hip-width apart with a slight bend in your knees.
  2. Extend your hands in front of you or place them on your thighs.
  3. Lengthen your neck, bring your chin toward your chest, and round your spine.
  4. Then look up, lift your chest, and move your spine in the opposite direction.
  5. Hold each position for 5 breaths at a time.
  6. Continue this movement for a few minutes.

This exercise allows you to open and stretch your chest. This is especially useful if you spend most of your day sitting, which tends to make your chest move inward. Strengthening your chest also helps you stand up straighter.

To do this:

  1. Stand with your feet about hip-width apart.
  2. Bring your arms behind you and interlace your fingers with your palms pressing together. Grasp a towel if your hands don’t reach each other.
  3. Keep your head, neck, and spine in one line as you gaze straight ahead.
  4. Inhale as you lift your chest toward the ceiling and bring your hands toward the floor.
  5. Breathe deeply as you hold this pose for 5 breaths.
  6. Release and relax for a few breaths.
  7. Repeat at least 10 times.

Ready to see how this all fits into an exercise plan? Check out our guide for better posture in 30 days.

The high plank pose helps to relieve pain and stiffness throughout your body while strengthening your shoulders, glutes, and hamstrings. It also helps you develop balance and strength in your core and back, both important for good posture.

To do this:

  1. Come onto all fours and straighten your legs, lift your heels, and raise your hips.
  2. Straighten your back and engage your abdominal, arm, and leg muscles.
  3. Lengthen the back of your neck, soften your throat, and look down at the floor.
  4. Make sure to keep your chest open and your shoulders back.
  5. Hold this position for up to 1 minute at a time.

You can use a side plank to maintain the neutral alignment of your spine and legs. This energizing pose works the muscles in your sides and glutes. Strengthening and aligning these muscles helps to support your back and improve posture.

To do this:

  1. From a high plank position, bring your left hand slightly in to center.
  2. Shift your weight onto your left hand, stack your ankles, and lift your hips.
  3. Place your right hand on your hip or extend it up toward the ceiling.
  4. You can drop your left knee down to the floor for extra support.
  5. Engage your abdominals, side body, and glutes as you maintain this pose.
  6. Align your body in a straight line from the crown of your head to your heels.
  7. Look straight ahead of you or up toward your hand.
  8. Hold this pose for up to 30 seconds.
  9. Repeat on the opposite side.

This is a forward bend that can be used as a resting pose to balance out your body. The downward-facing dog pose helps to relieve back pain, while also strengthening and aligning your back muscles. Practicing it regularly helps to improve posture.

To do this:

  1. Lying with your stomach on the floor, press into your hands as you tuck your toes under your feet and lift your heels.
  2. Lift your knees and hips to bring your sitting bones up toward the ceiling.
  3. Bend your knees slightly and lengthen your spine.
  4. Keep your ears in line with your upper arms or tuck your chin all the way into your chest.
  5. Press firmly into your hands and keep your heels slightly lifted.
  6. Remain in this pose for up to 1 minute.

This is a hip opener that also loosens up your spine, hamstrings, and glutes. The pigeon pose can also help to stretch your sciatic nerve and quadriceps. Opening and stretching these places in your body makes it easier to correct imbalances in your posture.

To do this:

  1. Come down on all fours with your knees below your hips and your hands a little bit in front of your shoulders.
  2. Bend your right knee and place it behind your right wrist with your right foot angled out to the left.
  3. Rest the outside of your right shin on the floor.
  4. Slide your left leg back, straighten your knee, and rest your thigh on the floor.
  5. Make sure your left leg extends straight back (and not to the side).
  6. Slowly lower your torso down to rest on your inner right thigh with your arms extended in front of you.
  7. Hold this position for up to 1 minute.
  8. Slowly release the position by walking your hands back toward your hips and lifting your torso.
  9. Repeat on the left side.

This exercise relieves tightness and pain in your back while increasing stability and mobility.

To do this:

  • Come onto all fours and sink your hips back down to your heels and rest on your shins.
  • Place your left hand behind your head with your elbow extended to the side.
  • Keep your right hand under your shoulder or bring it to center and rest on your forearm.
  • Exhale as you rotate your left elbow up toward the ceiling and stretch the front of your torso.
  • Take one long inhale and exhale in this position.
  • Release back down to the original position.
  • Repeat this movement 5 to 10 times.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.

This exercise helps to strengthen and activate your glutes while relieving lower back pain. It also improves the functioning and alignment of your hips and pelvis, leading to better posture.

To do this:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet about hip-distance apart.
  2. Keep your feet about a foot away from your hips.
  3. Rest your arms alongside your body with your palms facing down.
  4. Exhale as you bring your feet closer to your hips.
  5. Hold this position for 10 seconds and then move them further away from your hips.
  6. Continue this movement for 1 minute.
  7. Do this exercise a few times per day.

This exercise helps to relieve pain and stiffness from sitting in one place for too long. Isometric pulls work your shoulder, arm, and back muscles, giving you the strength to maintain good posture.

To do this:

  1. Sit in a chair with a soft back.
  2. Bend your arms so your fingers are facing forward and your palms are facing each other.
  3. Exhale as you draw your elbows back into the chair behind you and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  4. Breathe deeply as you hold this position for 10 seconds.
  5. On an inhale, slowly release to the starting position.
  6. Repeat this movement for 1 minute.
  7. Do this exercise several times throughout the day.