Fix These 5 for Outstanding Posture

By Lisa Byrne, B.S Exercise Sciences | Certified Pilates Instructor
NABBW’s Boomer Women\’s Fitness Expert

Last week I joined my friend and hair stylist for a bite to eat at the local pub.  She immediately noticed the bartender’s outdated hairstyle and said “Wow, I wonder who cuts her hair? She has such a beautiful face and wonderful jaw line, but the cut is not serving her all”. Donna was being completely open and honest in that inquiry.  By no means was it a slam. She thought by engaging in a conversation with the bartender she’d be able to gently give her some feedback towards a style that may compliment her attractive features.

I asked Donna if she does that everywhere she goes. Not critique styles and offer advice, rather see the style of hair along with the person in front of you.  “Yes, I do it all the time- it has become automatic after 20 years of having the salon, and working with….well, hair”.

Feeling relieved, I told her that I do that too, even with folks I have never met. Not with hairstyles, but my eye immediately goes to their posture. Why? The work I do all day long helps people move better in their bodies. It is a fascinating study for me to watch folks hold onto themselves and move around. There seems to be millions of ideas going on inside my head when I sense all this incoming posture data.

“I wonder if they realize they are massively leaning to one side in their hips?”

“Does that 40’ish year old attractive woman realize the high hump in her back will worsen if she continues to lean forward?”

“Wow, he looks so removed from the conversation with those forward rolled shoulders”.

“That laptop for sure is setting up poor habits of slumping over for that teenager”.

“The gentleman walking in front of me truly does not allow his feet to do what they are designed to do- rather he is lumbering forward with his hips, like he is made of wood!”

Now granted, these are all judgments.  Since I do not personally know these strangers there could be a whole history to why they do these things.  The point is that there is a large possibility that they are either completely unaware of how they are in their bodies or they choose to ignore how their posture affects their lifestyle.

How does posture affect your lifestyle?

Good posture can set up an awesome outlook for you.  Here’s why:

  • Tunes in your awareness of real core strength, the ability to hold onto yourself.
  • Lessens discomfort or pains.
  • Gives you confidence and belief in yourself.
  • Optimizes your presence to the world!

The core gets a lot of attention these days for very good reasons. There’s one benefit that’s being missed.

What is it?

The very act of holding onto yourself.  Creating a stable base inside your body, your core, is the essential foundation nobody should miss!

I’m talking way deep down, not squeezing your superficial muscles.

The way deep down territory involves the smaller, deeper muscles like the ones under your rib cage. Or the layers of long muscles lining your vertebrae. How about the torso supporters? The pelvic floor and deep hip muscles surely have more than a supporting role.

Pilates calls that supportive corset the powerhouse. The deepest abdominal muscle that you have acts as a natural weight belt. It wraps all the way around you!  Talk about holding on!  And the great news is you can do it ALL the time. You don’t need to be doing ‘abs’ to work it.  As a matter of fact, tighten the TA (transverse abdominus) and you’ll most likely trigger a great response from all the other constituents.

Tune into yourself while you’re still. It’s a perfect time to check into your default posture.

Is it comfortable?

If not, what would a simple correction feel like?

Test it out. Repeatedly.

Chances are if your body has been hanging out in that poor position for long it won’t take easy to the correction. Stay with it, be patient, and you’ll soon see why.

Okay, so what’s the fix for outstanding posture?

Here are the 5 checks:

  • Feet facing forward 6-10” apart. Even weight distribution.
  • Hips open. Stay away from leaning to one side.
  • Ribcage uncluttered and sits supportively above hips.
  • Shoulder blades in and downwards.
  • Eyes forward.

Don’t let the trickle happen if that’s not your intention. The trickle happens when you direct your eyes downwards. We absolutely need to do this many times, like walking on ice, shoveling snow or even cooking. For these, our attention needs to be down. That’s where the work is.

We habitually look down more than we need. Where your eyes go, everything else will follow.

Simply, begin to notice those times when looking down is not necessary.

I see it all the time in the studio. Many times I’ll position myself behind the person I am working with. As we work on proper movement, good form and posture awareness I can tell they are looking downwards as I stand behind them.  Once they make that shift upwards, their whole movement changes. They get to feel that immediate adjustment all for the better.

Now, that’s an aha moment!

Today, I made a short video to show you how easy it is to lay the foundation for outstanding posture.



Lisa Byrne is the owner and chief creative officer at Pilates for Sport, LLC in Bucks County, Pa. She has her B.S in Exercise Physiology and is a Certified Pilates Instructor. Lisa has operated her fully equipped Pilates studio since 1999 and has been in the Health and Fitness Industry for 23 years. The studio space is home to private sessions, small group training, and the outdoor circuit buffet, sure to get anyone grooving. Visitors to the movement studio span the range and include average Boomers looking for diversity; young people with Asperger’s-Autism; hard core athletes looking to ‘loosen up’; and those in need of chronic pain management through movement. Learn more about Lisa on her site, Move More Today.