Reaching your full height adds vertical inches while subtracting horizontal ones, says Jennifer Kries, a Pilates master teacher and a fitness and integrated wellness expert. But after spending most of our time bent over laptops, smart phones, and vertically challenged companions (be they children, friends or pets), standing up straight with our shoulders back can almost feel exaggerated. Improve your posture (and avoid puffing out your chest) with this move.
Shining the Heart Open: For this exercise, stand tall with your heels together and your toes apart in Pilates "tripod stance." Squeeze your inner thighs, quads and glutes. With your hands hanging by your sides, turn your palms to face out so that the pinkie finger is glued to the outer edge of your thigh. This opens the chest and shoulders while strengthening the triceps and upper back, Kries says. Hold for one minute or three deep breaths. Repeat 3 times.