To see how closely your posture matches "PowerPosture™", take 10 minutes and compare your relaxed, normal standing posture to these standards:
- Your upper back should be relatively flat. Your shoulder blades should not jut out or curve forward. Your upper spine should curve forward only slightly, and there shouldn't be an outward curve at the base of your neck, the beginning of a "dowager's hump".
- Your chest should curve out relative to your shoulders. If your chest is flat or sunken in between your shoulders, or if the tips of your shoulders jut forward, or there are large hollow areas beneath your collarbones, you are hunching your shoulders. A ruler placed across your chest at shoulder level should not touch the tips of your shoulders - there should be a gap between your shoulders and the ruler, which can be as much as 2 or 3 inches.
- Standing relaxed, your ear lobe should be directly over the middle of your shoulder and your hip joint. If your earlobe is ahead of your shoulder, you have forward head posture. If both your ear and the middle of your shoulder are ahead of your hip joint, you have forward head posture plus hunched shoulders.
- Stand normally against the edge of a door or a door jamb or a wall corner so that the edge runs up your upper spine. Determine the maximum distance between that vertical edge and your neck as finger widths, and measure that distance. It should be no more than about 4 centimeters, or 1.6 inches. If it's more than that, you have excessive forward head posture.
- Look at your head position from the front. Your chin should be well above the outer ends of your collar bones, and it may be as much as 4 inches above. If your chin is lower than about 2 inches above your collar bones, you have either a forward head position, shrugged shoulders, or both.
- To determine if you shrug your shoulders, look at your collar bones. They should be level or slope only slightly upwards. If it looks like your shoulders come straight out from your neck, you are holding your shoulders too high.
- Your neck and shoulder muscles shouldn't be much firmer or more developed than your other muscles. If they are firmer or more developed, your posture is faulty because a forward head position and rounded shoulders overwork and thus overdevelop these muscles.
- Unless you are specifically doing a lot of heavy lifting, your neck and shoulder muscles should be no more fatigued or painful than the rest of your body at the end of the day. If a neck and shoulder massage gives you tremendous relief, you have postural problems.
How closely do you match these "normal" standards?
If you have upper body pain and fatigue, and you found that you have some postural or flexibility shortcomings, then the PowerPosture™ program would obviously help you. Similarly, if you have no fatigue and pain, but you found that your posture or flexibility need improvement, then the PowerPosture™ program would help you prevent future problems, improve your appearance, and improve your physical functions.
However, if you have upper body pain and fatigue problems, but these assessments showed that you have good posture and flexibility, then you may have to analyze how you perform your daily activities to find the causes of your problems, and modify or eliminate those causes. In the "Lifestyle Suggestions" section of PowerPosture™, some effects of daily activities and lifestyle habits are discussed.
Generally, the more you differ from the ideal, the greater the chances of your having pain, fatigue, and injury problems now and later. But no 2 people's bodies or lives are alike, so posture can affect them very differently. Therefore, you shouldn't compare your posture and pain problems with other people. Some people may have serious pain and fatigue problems with only slight alignment and flexibility shortcomings. Others with very poor posture may have no pain now, but the excess muscle and bone loading caused by poor posture usually catches up with these people to cause pain, fatigue and injury problems in them, too.
With PowerPosture™, you can avoid all of these physical problems, and have better physical performance and posture for the rest of your life. The 10 to 15 minutes of stretching per day it takes to get "PowerPosture™", and then the 5 to 10 minutes of stretching per day it takes to maintain it, are a small cost to pay for so many functional benefits!