Align Up

Good posture does more than make you look beautiful. It promotes balance and increases strength and stamina. And bad posture? A lifetime of slumping can make you look older and contribute to arthritis, disc injuries, nerve irritation, and muscle and ligament stress. In fact, more than 80 percent of neck and back problems in adults are the result of tight, achy, and fatigued muscles brought on by years of poor posture.

The key to proper posture, according to Dale Hameister, DC, a Boulder, Colorado-based chiropractor, is the position of your pelvis. When you rock your pelvis forward slightly, the lower back naturally assumes a healthy lumbar curve, or lumbar lordosis. A proper curve in the lower back creates the correct curve in the upper back—with healthy posture as the result.

To achieve a good line, look at yourself in the mirror from the side. Tilt the pelvis forward slightly and notice how your chest lifts up and out and the shoulders fall back and down. When you stand, your ear, shoulder, hip, and ankle should be aligned. When you sit, your ear, shoulder, and hip should line up.

Maintain this balanced position when sitting, standing, pushing, pulling, and lifting. You'll avoid compressing your internal organs and improve energy flow, leading to better overall health as you age.

—Christine DeOrio