Better Posture

Poor posture sucks.

The problem
It starts early in life and is enormously difficult to correct once you are set. It will lead to back pains, poor breathing, and a host of other issues that won’t appear for another 20 years.

I’ve have fairly miserable posture for most of my life. I would slump while sitting, slouch while standing, and probably even curl up while lying down. When people would ask how tall I am and I tell them 6’3″, invariably the response would be similar to “Really? You don’t seem that tall.”

The resolution
I vowed (“resolved”, even?) to get past this right after Thanksgiving of last year. Like a drug addict who’s hit rock bottom, my bottom was seeing pictures from my brother’s wedding. Despite being taller than both of them, I looked shorter than them in almost every picture I can remember, and was fed up.

No more poor posture.

The tools
I dug out a book I had purchased a few years back, Posture, Get it Straight! by Janice Novak. While the book was written for someone quite a few years older and quite a few pounds heavier than myself (the subtitle is “Look Ten Years Younger, Ten Pounds Thinner and Feel Better Than Ever”, after all), and had illustrations of 50-year old woman in leotards smattered throughout the book, the principles laid out throughout the book, especially in the first two chapters, were solid.

The actions
For the past 8 weeks now, I have started the following.

  • Every time I catch myself slouching, I consciously sit upright with the “perfect posture” principle in the book.
  • Whenever I head to the gym, I focus more intensely on posture than every before: shoulders low and back, chest out, head and neck back.
  • Occasionally I will turn on the Yoga DVD that we have and run through that, as the stretching invariably helps limber up my back.
  • I’ve incorporate 2-3 core workouts into my weekly regimen. Good posture requires a strong core, both front and back. (I will detail this in a future blog post)

The results The first two weeks were tough. I caught myself slouching 10-20 times per day. When I would correct myself, my back would make snapping and popping noises. I would go to bed with an aching back at the end of the day.

But it is getting better. At least I think so. My back doesn’t pop or snap anymore. The corrections I have to take are fewer. I’m not out of the woods yet, but I definitely see improvement. And I definitely feel taller. Whereas my wife used to seem ~9-10 inches shorter than me, she is now the appropriate 12 inches shorter than me. I haven’t had any comments about how tall I don’t look in these past 8 weeks. Yes, things are looking up.

I will update this post as time goes on.


Some may say Jan 21 is too late to post New Years resolutions. These should all be done over the first week of January, then immediately pushed aside for more interesting fare. Others prefer to not post them at all. I spent the last three weeks pondering over this question for myself.

You see, resolutions never really meant anything to me. I always believed that, if I needed to do something, I would just start doing it and not wait for a new year to begin to “resolve” to do it.

This point of view hasn’t changed. It’s just that I’ve decided to start doing some things that overlap relatively cleanly with the new year.

I’ll explain these things in subsequent posts, for those who care (and everyone else who doesn’t…)