Originally published in Me Time Journal

Do you look in the mirror? Really look? Do you people watch, even YOUR people? Your spouse or partner, your children, grandchildren. How do you/they stand, sit, walk?
Forward head and neck, rounded shoulders, looking down or up and leading with that appendage the chin, yes it is an appendage.

Children now have Forward Head Posture due to not enough outdoor play and too many electronics in their life.

FHP used to belong mostly to the elderly and was an earmark of age.
Everyone knows posture is important for relief of body and muscle aches, did you know that strengthening your posture can improve sports performance, and even help people age well.

Your posture is HOW you balance your body. How the HEAD balances on the TORSO which balances on the PELVIS which balances on the LEGS.

Like Lego’s for example~the alignment of each one affects how the entire body balances and moves. Poor posture and uneven motion contribute to stress on the body.

Issues from chronic muscle and joint aches and pains from the feet to the neck can result in premature joint breakdown (i.e. osteoarthritis).
Bettering your posture reduces bio-mechanical stress to help back pain, sciatica, tension headaches, and improves athletic performance.

So, how do you look to the world? Old before your time? As the body adapts to muscular imbalances on the joints there are increases in low back and neck pain, including headaches, bursitis, arthritis etc..
Great posture results in better balance, alignment, ease of movement, and a more youthful appearance.

Check it out:
Head/neck tilt– If the cervical vertebrae are laterally (to a side) tilted, this can cause neck and upper back pain or strain

Shoulder bulk– People who do 1 sided sports like tennis or golf, often have one sided increase in the upper back due to moving, swinging, twisting/rotating, carrying or lifting heavy objects on one side. Is one shoulder higher or more forward than the other?

Thigh/calf bulk– Is this equal? Greater bulk suggests greater weight bearing on that side.

Bow legged or knock knees– This may explain knee pain as joints wear differently in these conditions.

Foot position. This can tell you about hip rotation as people often stand like ballet dancers with their feet turned out, or stand pigeon toed. Is parallel comfortable, does just one foot turn out a bit?

Side view Goal: Ears over shoulders over hips over knees over that little ankle bone that sticks out.

Forward head posture– ears should be over the shoulders

Are the shoulders rounded forward? They should be wide, shoulder blades drawn towards each other, down from the ears, giving the appearance of a long neck as opposed to the old Ed Sullivan, or gym rat ‘no neck’ look (Neanderthal, lol)
A rounded upper back squashes the ability to take nice deep, full oxygenated breaths. Your breathing parts need room to expand.

Swayback type curves are associated with lumbar pain, send your tailbone down towards the earth.

Knee position. Are the knees normal, flexed or hyperextended? Flexed (slightly bent)= tight hamstrings, hyperextended (knees that seem to lock with a double jointed appearance) = tight quadriceps.

We want a balanced stance. Walking should be a smooth gait, not a military, chest high & abs sucked in look, or chest forward and your buttocks out behind you as if you’re leaning forward, and we definitely don’t want ‘text neck’. An elbow height desk/chair situation is best, so you don’t have to lean forward to read and type…extending your neck and training your muscles that way. It’s hard to undo the damage. But you can, and the kids can. Here’s how:

Find a wall and stand against it, how far away from it do you need to place your feet so that your head, shoulders, and back are completely flat against it. All those parts should be able to touch, and you shouldn’t be able to place a fist between the wall and your low back, a supple spine should be able to do this. Open your shoulders wide against the wall, the back of your head should easily touch.
Lift both arms up to touch the wall overhead with the back of your hands, it should be able to happen, if it can’t here’s where the work starts.

Raise your arms & touch the wall, lower them again and press into the wall, repeat press high, press low, daily, several times. Then scissor your arms, 1 high, 1 low. Do this lying down supine, add a 1 or 2 lb dumbbell as you raise and lower your arms from overhead to past your hips. the back of the neck should lengthen, shoulders broaden, chest widen, back working to keep all this together.

Stand in the middle of the room,feet parallel, hip distance (4-6 inches) pretend your feet are each on it’s own scale, weight the scales evenly. Check foot position, knees, hips, shoulders, head and neck. Stack your body upright bit by bit. This should be improved posture. Keep working on it until it’s the norm. Lift your penthouse away from your lobby as it were, you will look more in control, charismatic, friendly, younger, more lifted, and your body will feel better, so you won’t be in pain and therefore happier.