Are you looking to get healthier, stronger or just more aware of your body and posture in the new year? Fitness expert SheriAnne Little stopped by the Your Life Arizona studio recently to show us the five exercises we should be doing but probably aren’t. The first one maybe the most important as many of us sit for hours each day, work on a computer and use or cell phones for hours at a time. Wall slides will help relieve some back pain but more importantly they will help get your posture back on track by strengthening those over-worked muscles. While doing these focus on your upper back muscles like the trapezius. That’s the area you’re trying to build strength in. Here’s how to do them.

Wall Slides - Stand with your back against the wall and slide your arms and hands from your shoulders up above your head keeping your arms in full contact with the wall. This will help with poor posture which frequently leads to neck, shoulder, and back pain. And because sitting and slumping as you type, surf, or text can consume hours of your day, the more frequently you perform this move, the better.

Yes, you knew it had to be on our list somewhere – squats! This somewhat simple exercise works a large group of muscles, so you get lots of reward for a short amount of time and who doesn’t love that?!

Wall Squats - Be sure to have your feet far enough away from the wall so that your knees have a 90-degree bend. As you hold the position be sure to engage your hamstrings and glutes by pulling down and holding yourself up with your quads. This way it engages the whole leg. This is an important step many people overlook when doing wall squats. Start with 20 sec holds and then build on that.

You’ve probably seen this exercise done before with both legs on the ground. Raising one leg off the floor increases the challenge and keeps you from cheating. This exercise is especially good for women because we tend to have weaker hips. You’d also be surprised to learn most of us don’t do many glute exercises yet it’s an area most want to improve.

Single Leg Hip-Raises - Hold the inactive leg into your chest to allow the active leg to be fully engaged. As you press up, push up through your heel and contract your glute and get a good stretch on the hip flexor in the front. Hold at the top for 3-5 seconds repeating 15 times.

Thoracic what? This exercise is designed to help get more mobility into your back. This is especially important for people who sit for long periods of time. Experts say that as we age this is an area where we lose mobility so let’s get to it.

Thoracic Rotation - Start on all fours, your knees and hands. Be sure your knees are directly below your hips and hands directly below your shoulders. Take your right hand and put it on your right ear, reach through and touch your right elbow to your left elbow and then reach back with your elbow twisting your upper body and engaging your lats. This will help your posture and help strengthen your back as well. Repeat the move15 times holding at the top each time for 3-5 seconds, then do the other side.

Last but not least… the tried and true must-do that doctors say helps your entire core, front and back!

Plank – This can be performed on hands or elbows. Be sure to engage your core and hold the position as flat as possible. If you need to do this on your knees to begin and then graduate to feet, that is fine. Begin holding it 30 seconds and then build on it in 15 sec increments.

There you have it! Five moves that will help keep you healthy and happy in the new year!

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