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    Posture Perfect

    By Cinder Ernst–

    Your best-bet posture depends upon the alignment of your spine, from your tail bone to the base of your head. When mom used to say, “Sit up straight (and eat your vegetables),” she was on the right track. Today we’re going to look at some of the mechanics of your best-bet posture. Once you have a picture of how things work together, it’s often easier to make and keep postural improvements.

    If you believe in evolution, then get a picture of early man in your mind. In the beginning we were forward leaning, almost on “all fours.” Much of our muscular make-up was determined then. As we began to evolve and become more upright, some of that muscular make-up had to adapt. To remain upright and pain-free, it’s good to consider our forward leaning roots and how to support the present upright posture.

    There are a couple of key places where our historical posture really has an effect. Today we’ll look at the upper back/chest area. When we were forward leaning humans, it was natural and right for our shoulders to round forward and our chests to cave in. We were made to accomplish exactly that.

    As an upright human, gravity is always pulling us forward. Also, many activities including reading, driving, device-using and computing contribute to pulling us forward. Young folks today have more trouble because they look down at their phones from a very early age. Looking down at your phone makes your muscles want to bring you forward. That postural position creates problems, such as: “hump back,” neck pain, back pain, headaches, and shoulder injuries. You also look kind of lousy when you have that hump posture going on.

    Look around as you move through the world and notice other people’s postures. You might notice that people with their shoulders back, chest lifted and head held high look confident. Folks with hump posture make a completely different impression.

    Noticing other people’s posture is a good and fun way to remember to adjust your own posture position. Awareness and a small self-adjustment is all it takes. Press your shoulder blades back then down. Lift your ribcage. Imagine your head as a natural extension of your spine. Then smile. Try it now, if you’re willing. Be sure to adjust gently. Do what feels good and right for your body.

    You have to start where you are. If you have not been paying attention to posture then you might feel stiff and stuck. That’s okay; just go easy. Shoulder rolls are a great way to loosen up the area so you can make the posture adjustments. Gently roll your shoulders up, back and around. Repeat a few times and then reverse. Then try the adjustment again, shoulder blades back and down, chest lifted, neck long and your head being a natural extension of your spine. Take a deep breath, and smile.

    Next time we will begin the Easy Fitness Look Good Feel Better Posture Training!

    Cinder Ernst, Medical Exercise Specialist and Life Coach Extraordinaire, helps reluctant exercisers get moving with safe, effective and fun programs. Find out more at