Bad and good posture (part 1)

No I did not lose 10 lbs. I did not have plastic surgery, nor was the picture taken when I was younger. The transformation is simply the result of me standing up straight. WOW! Not only does good posture make you look slimmer and younger (yes), it also frees your breathing, promotes better digestion, helps prevent wear and tear on the joints and relieve aches and pains (magnificent).

As I mentioned in a prior article the boney structure is shaped by the play between muscle tension and muscle weakness. The greater the muscle imbalance the more out of line the spine becomes. Any part of the body which is off the center line is subject to the force of gravity which further pulls the body out of balance creating greater muscle imbalance, and overtime, rigidity and habitual patterning (i.e. rounded shoulders – causing neck and upper back pain not to mention the dreaded dowager’s hump, protruding belly – causing lower back pain and tight hamstrings … as they hold on for dear life to your pelvis, to try to keep your back up so you don’t fall on your face. J )

So what is the basis of good posture? Right! Muscle balance between front and back of body. This causes the spine to straighten out which then allows the force of gravity to work for you, as it pulls on the tailbone and effortlessly keeps you up … ingenious no? We are a marvel.

To achieve good posture one must overcome the obstacles of unconscious habit and rigidity. The keys are: body awareness and strategic stretching and strengthening. So here are my practical body awareness tips to get you started on your good posture adventure.

Body Awareness Try it. Practice it daily.
  • Relax and drop your shoulders . Most of us use our shoulders to support our body weight – which is actually the job of our feet and abdominal muscles! Remember that when your shoulders are up around your ears you can not connect to the abdominal muscles … that is one of the reasons why they get so flabby.
  • Pull your belly button in to your spine . This activates your abdominal muscles, engages them to support your lower back and brings awareness to the fact that the front and back of the body are one. Remember, there aren’t any abdominal muscles in your shoulders so don’t try to pull in your belly by lifting your shoulders!
  • Find your feet, feel them on the ground . Stand on your feet. (I know this sounds obvious but you would be amazed how few of us do.) Relax your knees. Remember your legs connect to your pelvis and together they support your torso and head.
  • Drop your chin towards your throat. This shifts the angle of your head and causes a pulling on the cervical and thoracic vertebrae which causes a lengthening of the upper back and neck. You will have to open your eyes up wider to see which has the pleasing effect of giving you big beautiful eyes.

Next issue I will focus on strategic stretching & strengthening exercises to help improve posture. If you are impatient go to: and check out my Posture DVD – Best wishes to you all and stand up straight!


About The Author


Lisa McLellan founded Age Smart Fitness in 2006. Age Smart Fitness is dedicated to the health, fitness and mental well-being of people age 40 and over.


1 Comment

  • Kathy Whittaker

    Reply Reply July 5, 2011

    This is a very good one! I forwarded this to both my daughters who are both very tall, & one of whom see a physio. for deep back muscle exercises.

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