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Dec. 19 2009 12:00 AM

Remember mom telling you, “Sit up straight?” It’s no idle threat: proper posture can ease our aching backs as well as make us appear more trim and confident.
To test your posture, lean back onto a wall to see if your shoulder blades and buttocks touch simultaneously. If one side of the body touches first or the shoulders touch before your rear, there’s an imbalance.
So straighten up and fly right for some posture perfect trade secrets from the exercise experts at Life Fitness:

  • Hold steady: Try isometric or static contractions that flex key body parts to build strength such as lying on your back and lifting your butt. Hold the position for a short five seconds. Build up to 30-second holds and increase repetitions.
  • Get to the core of the matter: Tap specific equipment at your health club to target the abdominal and back muscles. Test equipment like the lateral (deltoid) raise, shoulder press and kneeling torso rotation for starters. If you’re not sure how to use these machines, inquire with a personal trainer who will show you proper techniques.
  • Practice makes perfect: Watch your bad posture habits like slouching over a desk or leaning to one side while standing. Get into the habit of checking and correcting your posture throughout the day. Create cues to remind yourself like sitting up straight every time the phone rings at work or during commercial breaks while watching TV at home.

Fit Tips are provided by Life Fitness, the leader in designing and manufacturing high-quality exercise equipment for fitness facilities and homes worldwide. For more information on Fit Tips and other fitness advice and expertise visit www.lifefitness.com or follow www.twitter.com/LifeFitness or join their Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/lifefitness.

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