Find Your Place: Check Your Total-Body Alignment

By the Editors of SilverSneakers |

What you see in the mirror can tell you a lot about your alignment, posture, and risk for pain or injury.

When you stand, how even are your ears, shoulders, nipples, and hips? In this video, SilverSneakers fitness expert David Jack explains how this quick test can give you clues about your body alignment, posture, and risk for pain or injury.

You’ll need a mirror, preferably one that allows you to see your whole body. Try the test now, then see what your results mean below. If you’re not able to stand safely or have a condition that affects your spine, skip the test, but check out the tips below.

If Your Ears, Shoulders, Nipples, and Hips Are Level

That’s a sign you have good total-body alignment and posture. Why this matters: You’re putting less stress on your bones, muscles, and joints, which helps protect you from pain or injury.

Now that you know how you stand, aim to maintain good posture throughout the day with these tips. Plus, try these six exercises to prevent a hunchback.

If Your Ears, Shoulders, Nipples, or Hips Aren’t Level

That’s a sign of asymmetry or imbalance somewhere in your body, which can increase your risk for pain or injury. Talking to your doctor can help you figure out whether it’s an issue with your bones, muscles, or movement patterns.

What else can help: exercises that strength the core, which is your spine’s support system. And if you like exercising with a group, you’ll be happy to know many SilverSneakers classes emphasize core stability and can modify moves for your needs.

If You Weren’t Able to Take the Test or Have a Condition That Affects Your Spine

Talk to your doctor about what good alignment and posture look like for you. What is right for someone else may not look exactly right for you, but many of the same principles still apply. For example, if you use a wheelchair, proper positioning can help you breathe better and avoid strain in your upper body.

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Your doctor can also help you find the right fitness plan. Ask these three questions:

  • What types of exercise are appropriate for me?
  • How often and how much should I do them?
  • Are there precautions or steps I should take? If you have osteoporosis, check out these four rules for exercising with osteoporosis.

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