Whether you spend your days sitting at a desk, driving long distances or standing on your feet, maintaining proper posture is challenging for most people.

A large percentage of posture-related back problems originate from a sedentary lifestyle that includes extended periods of sitting, leaning forward to stare at your computer screen or looking down at your phone. An inactive lifestyle then exacerbates injuries caused by poor posture.

With the right kind of exercise and attention, you can improve your posture and overall back health. Here’s how:

Before you begin your workout, power up your posture with this 30-second sequence:
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and engage your thigh muscles. Squeeze your buttocks and pull your navel in towards your spine. Lift your chest and draw your shoulders down away from your ears. Retract your chin backwards and lift the top of your head towards the ceiling. Hold this powerful pose as you continue to breathe naturally.

Repeat as needed throughout the day.

Once your back is powered up, try this 15-minute back workout to help strengthen the muscles needed to maintain proper posture.

Bird dogs - 5 to 10 reps per side
Begin on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders, your knees directly under your hips and your back relatively flat. Slowly raise your left arm forward as you simultaneously extend your right leg backward.

Once both your leg and arm are in line with your torso, pause briefly before you begin to lower both limbs back to the starting position for one rep. Repeat 5 to 10 times, alternating sides each time.

Dynamic child pose - repeat sequence 3 to 5 times
Begin on your hands and knees, with your hands slightly wider than your shoulders and your arms stretched out in front of you. As you breathe in, sit your hips back onto your heels, tucking your tailbone under and lowering your chest towards the ground. When you are ready to breathe in, lift your chest upwards, round your spine and tuck your chin towards your chest to stretch your upper, middle and lower back.

Side bridge - 3 sets on each side, 10 to 15 seconds per side
Lie on your side and prop yourself up on your forearm. Line up your shoulders, hips and knees. Draw your waistline inward, then exhale and press your hips upward into a side bridge. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds before repeating on the other side.

Breathe naturally and maintain a straight line between your shoulders and your hips throughout this exercise.

Wall angel - 3 sets of 3 to 5 reps
Stand with your back facing the wall, your heels a few feet from the base of the wall. Allow your arms to hang naturally at your side and your knees to bend slightly. Press your buttocks, shoulder blades and the back of your head against the wall. 

Bend your elbows and press the back of your hands and forearms against the wall. As you breathe in, lift your arms to shoulder level. If it feels fine to lift your arms above your shoulders, continue to move your arms overhead. The goal is to maintain a neutral standing posture with correct alignment against the wall throughout this exercise.