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Health Beat: Better posture: Tips to straighten up

Health Beat: Better posture: Tips to straighten up

ORLANDO, Fla. - How's your posture right now? Are you sitting up straight or are you slouched over? Poor posture can take a serious toll on your spine, shoulders, hips and knees.

Posture expert Dr. Steven Weiniger said good posture means your head, torso and pelvis are all stacked over your feet while you stand.

"We label those areas posture zones, and we try to pull posture zones towards center," said Weiniger, of BodyZone Roswell.

He took a posture picture of Dee Hobbs, which showed her zones aren't as well-aligned as she thought.

"Her pelvis is quite a bit to the left of centerline," Weiniger said.

"I am definitely surprised," Hobbs said.

With a little work, Hobbs can improve her posture, and so can you. 

"Making people aware of their body is the first thing you need to do to start functionally strengthening their posture," Weiniger said.

Then, Weiniger recommends "BAM-321" — balance three times a day, alignment two times a day, and motion once a day. 

To improve balance, lift your leg so your thigh is parallel to the ground while touching a wall. Hold it for five breaths.

For alignment, move side to side while sitting on a balance ball. For motion, try moving forward and backward on the ball.

"You can also feel the difference in your neck while you're doing it," Hobbs said.

To improve posture while you sit at your desk, place your monitor and keyboard right in front of you so your torso doesn't twist.

Also, make sure your hips are higher than your knees while you sit. Choose a chair you can adjust slightly forward or put a pillow on your seat, and remember not to slouch.

Weiniger said kids are more at risk for poor posture today because of tablets, phones and video games. They often sit in a tense position with their shoulders and lower backs rounding forward while using these devices. He says the best way to help them improve their posture is to take a picture, so they can see just how hunched they are. Also, having kids sit on an exercise ball while they watch TV will help improve their posture. 

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