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What exercises will help improve my posture?

Question: My problem is posture. I sit a lot at work and I know I am slouching. Can you recommend one good stretching exercise and one good strengthening exercise I can do during the day at work to help me naturally sit upright?

Answer: A hunched posture causes the chest muscles to become short and tight, and upper back muscles to become long and weak.

Try the two exercises below to counteract the negative impact of sitting in a hunched position.

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Straight arm scapula retraction: Sit tall at your desk with your arms straight out in front of you, with your palms facing each other (thumbs up). Keep your arms straight and pull your shoulder blades together. Imagine you are trying to crack a walnut with your shoulder blades. Pay attention to your lower back and neck: Do not let your lower back arch, or your chin jut forward as you perform the exercise. Repeat 10 times.

Wall W-Ys: Stand with your back against a wall or door. Bring your hands up beside your shoulders so your upper body forms a W. Aim for your wrists, elbows and backs of your hands to be as close to the wall as possible. Without arching your back or jutting your chin forward, straighten your arms above your head so your body looks like a Y. Repeat 10 times.

Trainer's Tip: Even with the best of intentions, it's easy to forget to stand up, move around and stretch every once in a while. Set an alarm at work that goes off at regular intervals to remind you to drink water, perform these stretches and take a short walk around the office.

Send certified personal trainer Kathleen Trotter your questions at . She will answer select questions, which could appear in The Globe and Mail and/or on The Globe and Mail web site. Your name will not be published if your question is chosen.

Read more Q&As from Kathleen Trotter

Click here to see Q&As from all of our health experts.

The content provided in The Globe and Mail's Ask a Health Expert centre is for information purposes only and is neither intended to be relied upon nor to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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