A Few Simple Tricks for Good Posture & Alignment

When I meet a new client at BodyFix Method™, we usually begin with a brief conversation about why they have come to us. While nearly all of our clients are motivated by some degree of pain, many make their way to us because they realize that they have poor posture. Clients have noticed that the way they sit and stand is either lopsided, slouchy, or both.

Sometimes, they are pushed to seek assistance because it’s a mystery as to why they can’t stand up “straight,” and they have realized that their posture won’t get better on its own. They are responding to a visual cue that something is off and want to correct their posture so that they can feel better and more confident. More often than not, they are not thinking about how they move, stand, or sit and how those movements may be altered by their poor posture. They are thinking about how they look, not how they move.

Posture vs. Alignment: What’s the difference?

Posture is relevant to the work we do at BodyFix, but the heart of good posture is good alignment. Many of us don’t recognize the distinction between these two familiar terms, which although related, are definitely not the same. While posture is how you look, alignment is how you move. Posture is the way your joints are positioned, but alignment is how muscles make those joints operate mechanically. Good alignment will enable good posture, but good posture does NOT necessarily mean you have good alignment.

How We Assess Alignment

An alignment therapist can make an educated guess about the source of a client’s pain based on their posture. However, they won’t get a complete picture until the therapist can watch the client move. During a client’s first session at BodyFix, we take a set of four standing photos; front, back, right and left profile. These photos are taken with minimal clothing (shorts and a tank top) and with the client standing against a gridded backdrop.

The photos are a tool for assessing a client’s posture. We look for a misalignment of joints and asymmetries in their overall body position. For example, if there is one knee that turns inward while the foot is turned out, a shoulder that wings off of the back, or a hiked hip.

This static visual information provides the therapist with essential clues about the client’s movement patterns. It is actually those movement patterns that have affected the client’s posture. Both their posture and alignment are responsible for their chronic pain. For example, if I meet a client for the first time and their photos show that the client’s right hip and shoulder are rotating more forward than the left hip and shoulder,  I will keep that in mind when I watch them walk. Why? Because that rotation will impact not only one’s walking, but also any daily movement that requires a stable, not permanently rotated base.

More often than not, right side rotation will express itself in a gait (walking) imbalance. It is common for a right rotated person to experience so much tightness on the right side that their left side fails to walk in coordination with the right side. They lose bilateral function. This usually leads to pain or instability on the left side. The results? Lower back pain on the left side or a lack of control in the left shoulder. A postural imbalance gives the therapist a first look at the client’s habits. With movement, the muscles and the joints working, will usually provide a full story.

Our Bodies are Complex Machines

Another way of looking at alignment compared to posture is to think of a car in a garage vs. on the road. You may not be able to perceive problem just by looking under the hood. A test drive sheds more light on whether the car is operating properly. There can be moments in the drive that are smooth and steady. Others may suggest alignment issues. Perhaps there is a distinct grinding sensation when accelerating that isn’t as apparent when the car is idling or, a real difficulty steering the car in the right lane.

To be clear, the car analogy is an over-simplification. Human bodies are living tissue that can adapt to a variety of movement patterns. Unlike a car, not all misalignments lead to pain (or in the car’s example, a breakdown or car accident).

The Road To True Alignment

For many clients, their walking pattern (gait)  doesn’t expose all their mechanics and other diagnostic tools are needed. Cat/cow is a great way to see if a client’s pelvis can move properly. Standing on one leg or lifting one thigh at a time will demonstrate hip stability or instability. A simple bridge exercise will help a therapist see if the left buttock muscles out-perform the right side. Just as it would be wise to take a car through different streets, highways, and roads, a therapist would want to observe the client in a series of movement diagnostics before they begin treatment.

What we do know is that our posture is a result of our alignment, and our movement patterns will tell the tale. If you’re curious about your posture or your alignment, schedule an evaluation at BodyFix Method™. Along with some postural photos and a series of functional movements, you will learn more about your movement patterns and how you can eliminate chronic pain by restoring your alignment. You will also correct your posture and look better at the same time!

Elaine O’Brien



Osteopenia: What It Is & Why You Should Know More About It

What is Osteopenia?

Osteopenia is a condition where one’s bone mineral density (BMD) is lower than normal. There are few indicators of osteopenia, such as pain or reduced mobility, and a regular bone density test after age 50 is the best discovery method. In my view, the test should be done at age 40, but the insurance companies don’t agree with me. Most doctors consider osteopenia an indicator of osteoporosis. Osteopenia is a normal sign of aging whereas osteoporosis is not. However, osteopenia is often a strong indicator of continuing bone density deterioration.

Bone mineral density is commonly measured by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, or DEXA. Technically, osteopenia is defined as a bone mineral density T-score of between -1.0 and -2.5. The term T-score is a statistics term. It expresses a comparison of the BMD of your spine, wrist, and hip to that of a healthy 30-year-old of your same gender and ethnicity.

The Facts

Osteopenia and osteoporosis occur most frequently in post-menopausal women. Approximately 34 million women in the US have osteopenia. Women develop osteoporosis 4 times more often than men but men over 65 are susceptible to osteoporosis. Both conditions are exacerbated by a loss of estrogen; a sedentary lifestyle; a lack of exercise, especially weight-bearing exercise; smoking; excessive alcohol consumption; and prolonged use of glucocorticoids, such as Prednisone, which is heavily recommended for asthma, inflammatory conditions, and rheumatoid arthritis. Phenytoin (Dilantin) is also tough on bones; it is an anti-seizure or antiepileptic drug commonly prescribed for these conditions. Anti-inflammatories such as Advil or generic ibuprofen can control inflammation but have been found to hinder both healing and repair, so there is a two-edged sword in using these products.

Young women, particularly amateur athletes, are also more subject to osteopenia, primarily because of diet and lack of weight-bearing exercise in favor of aerobic activities such as swimming, outdoor cycling, gym-based indoor spinning, or at-home Peloton cycling. Bone-loading activities such as weight lifting, running, and gymnastics will maintain, and even increase, bone density.

In general, female athletes tend to have a lower body weight, a much lower fat percentage, and a higher incidence of asthma than their less-active peers. A major treatment for asthma is the use of steroids, Prednisone for particularly difficult cases, so these women get a double whammy as their bones are less dense by virtue of their activity level and then the steroids reduce that density even more.

Osteopenia can be ignored, but it shouldn’t be. Treat it as a wake-up call, a notice that something is amiss. To my knowledge, osteopenia can’t be reversed but it can be managed and its effects reduced. Good bone density is a plus for everything we do. Strong bones help us live our lives the way we want.

Since osteopenia often leads to osteoporosis, it increases the risk of getting debilitating fractures. Osteoporosis and bone fractures run hand in hand. Bone fractures are a major health threat for older women, affecting about 8 million of the 10-million osteoporosis cases in the U.S. One in 3 women over 50 get fractures resulting from osteoporosis.

What Do I Do About It?

Your bones are living organs, and your body is continually replacing older bone structures with new ones. Bone is not solid; it is a living, growing tissue with a soft core and a hard exterior of calcium. From youth to 30, new bone mass is added much faster than it is discarded. After age 30, that replacement activity is slower. In time, as we age, there is often a net loss of bone mass. That is a problem for all of us, male and female alike.

Here are simple, very basic steps that each of us should take to prevent Osteopenia and to reduce its effects.

  • Don’t smoke. Period. That goes for e-cigarettes, pipes, and cigars.
  • Alcohol and coffee should be taken in moderation. To me, a glass of wine and two cups of coffee daily sound about right.
  • Eat lots of greens; a salad a day is a good start. Nutritionist friends of mine have recommended lentils, dried beans, broccoli, and spinach. (I add a little Artic Char or Atlantic salmon to that, too.)
  • Get some sun; start walking outdoors in the morning or late afternoon when the rays are at their least harmful to your skin but still helpful for bone growth.
  • If walking, jumping, or running outdoors or at a gym are in your DNA, go for it. Any weight-bearing activity helps.
  • There’s no need to bench-press 300 pounds but weight lifting will build bone mass. Lightweight dumbbells and a stable position will do the job for most of us.

As we get older, balance and upright posture take the front row. It’s harder to build bone mass at 65 but sure-footedness and balance will keep us out of trouble and on our feet. Tai chi, Feldenkrais, Yoga, and alignment therapies like BodyFix Method™ all focus on balance and movement, on staying supple and graceful.

Get an alignment evaluation from someone who knows the difference between posture and alignment. For the record, posture is how your body looks. Alignment is how your body works. Apply that and you have the essence of movement.

We shouldn’t have to spend our days looking down at the street or sidewalk to make sure everything’s clear. Nothing is ever clear. Streets, driveways, houses, steps, basements, and backyards or parks are always cluttered. We should be able to navigate through these obstacles, not try to reduce our environment to flat, clutter-free surfaces or walk so slowly that we lose all momentum and purpose. Perfect surfaces rarely exist.

We have to be able to look ahead and move comfortably, and not worry about avoiding clutter or a bump in the sidewalk that’s right in front of us. Here’s an axiom that’s often true; if we look down, we will fall down. If we are looking down at our feet, we’ll trip on whatever is there before we even see it or can avoid it. Our posture and shoulders are already compromised by dropping our head to look down, so we are already on our way to falling. Look straight ahead and see what’s happening ahead of you. It’s a much safer and more comfortable way to live.

Here are ten easy-to-do, at-home exercises for men or women of any age to do in order to stimulate bone growth, improve your balance and strength, and slow the progression of osteopenia.

  1. Plank on Elbows
  2. Prone Thigh Raise-Bent Knee
  3. Simple Lunge-Arms Up
  4. Drop & Stop
  5. 3-Position Heel Raises
  6. Standing Hip Abduction
  7. 3-Position Push-ups on the Wall
  8. Tree Pose (Free-standing or at the Wall)
  9. Forearm Stretch at the Wall
  10. Funny Walk

You can do these exercises at home or at the gym, wherever you have open space. Break this group into sets of threes; you’ll have Funny Walk to do on Friday if you break the program into a M-W-F routine. You should do this group forever and to do that, breaking it up may be the way to go. It would be for me.

If you would like a PDF copy of this program, please comment below. Tell us a little about yourself, so we can use that information to help others. Lastly, don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to keep up to date with more informative blog articles!

Keep moving and you will stay well.

William M. Boland

The Ritual of Self-Care

To most people, daily routines, such as brushing our teeth, taking a bath or a shower, and taking our medication, might seem so ordinary that we don’t even consider them acts of self-care but they are. If we fail to do those things, it will take a toll on our health. If we do them with intention and care, we’ll thrive.

I have just moved from NYC to sunny Laguna Beach, CA, which has me thinking a lot about my personal daily routine of self-care. My lifestyle has completely changed in the past month, but my basic daily ritual of self-care remains constant. It is grounding and healing during a time of great change. These are the critical 5 rituals of self-care I need to maintain balance…

Five Rituals of Self-Care for Balance and Health

  1. Move Your Body Every Day: Movement is healing. It stimulates all of the systems of your body: respiration, circulation, digestion, and lymphatic. Movement does not have to mean hard-core aerobic exercise or going to the gym. Some days I enjoy a walk with my 13-year-old Maltipoo, Chloe. Sometimes I do an hour of yoga. Often, I choose Pilates, as I am an instructor and have a passion for it. Whatever your thing is, go do it. Just get moving!
  2. Drink Plenty of Water: Your body is 80% percent water. Stay hydrated. Your organs will function better. Your skin will glow. Well-moistened fascia (connective tissue) will allow you to move more gracefully. Your muscles will be stronger, your nervous system will respond better, & your brain will function better, so you will be able to maximize your brain’s potential! Drink at least 64 ounces a day… I carry a water bottle everywhere I go and sip throughout the day.
  3. Eat Clean Food: Studies are showing that the best way to maintain long lasting wellness is to eat clean, nutritious foods. Maintaining a diet rich in fruits and vegetables helps ward off diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Let organic fruits and veggies make up the bulk of your diet. Fill in the rest with clean protein and legumes, whole grains, and healthy fats. I try to eat at home as much as possible so that I know that my food is clean and green.
  4. Sleep Well: When you get a good night’s sleep, you feel your best, look your best, and you can work to your highest potential. Sleep is good for your brain and for your overall health. Countless studies have shown that getting at least 7 hours of deep sleep a night helps avoid the onset of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. I stay away from electronics at least 1-2 hours before bed so that I do not have trouble falling asleep. The blue light given off by electronics stimulates the brain and interferes with your falling asleep.
  5. Align Your Body: For me, there is no act of self-care more important than my daily BodyFix Method Pain Relief Program. If I don’t keep my body aligned, I will be in pain. Whether that pain is in my lower back, knees, or neck, I want to prevent it before it starts. To do my work as an Alignment Therapist, I have to be able to move and to use my body optimally. I do a varied routine every day. Here are 5 exercises that I have been doing every day recently.

Daily Self-Care Ritual Routine


  • Supine Ankle Squeeze and Hold with Pullovers.
  • Advanced ITB Stretch.
  • Static Extension Position
  • Seated Knee Pillow Squeezes.
  • Standing Shoulder Rolls.


Please email me at anita@bodyfixmethod.com if you would like the full routine with written instructions.

The ritual of self-care is a necessity more than ever in our fast-paced world. Taking time for ourselves can seem like a luxury that we can’t afford. But, the opposite is true. We CAN’T afford not to take time for ourselves. It will catch up to us in the long run. Take time for yourself today.


In good health,

Anita Goodkind






How To Develop Ease and Strength Through Mobility

By the time we are adults, most of us have developed a vocabulary around our physical selves. We gauge our performance of certain physical tasks or feats and quickly assess whether we are “athletic”, “strong”, “flexible” or “graceful”. Sometimes the narrative includes words like “uncoordinated”, “stiff” or “weak”.

Depending on our experiences, any of those words and many more can apply to the ongoing story of our bodies. However, it is unusual that any of us would refer to ourselves as “mobile”. And yet, mobility is often the gateway to both strength and a sense of ease in the muscles. Mobility is, in part, what helps us retain balance in uneven terrain, and it can facilitate easeful movement.

What exactly is Mobility?

How is it different from flexibility? Mobility is understood as actively controlled movement, an ability to control the end range of a movement, whereas flexibility is regarded as passive range of motion. To discern mobility from flexibility, one only has to vary the approach to a simple movement pattern.

In her article Flexibility Versus Mobility: What Do You Need?, movement expert Jennifer Pilotti suggests this exercise to determine flexibility: Lie on your back and ask a friend to lift your right leg toward the ceiling, while you keep the leg straight. If you’re someone who identifies as “flexible”, your leg might easily move to 90 degrees and even head toward your face. If you think of yourself as “stiff”, your leg might stop moving much earlier than that 90-degree point and will feel uncomfortable sooner than later. In any event, at some point your leg will stop moving. That is considered your passive end range of motion.

Testing Your Mobility

Try lifting your straight right leg toward the ceiling on its own, moving slowly and flexing from the hip. Keep your trunk still as you lift the leg. For many “stiff” people, the muscular engagement required for the mobility test will feel substantially more comfortable, even if the end range of motion isn’t much different than the flexibility test. For a “flexible” person, the effort of the mobility test might cause the muscles to quiver and the end range of motion might be much less than the passive stretch.

For all bodies, whether you see yours as loose or stiff, the ability to control movement is key for moving well and remaining supple. However, the technique can vary depending on how much natural flexibility and/or strength you have. Here are a few useful tools and tips for encouraging mobility for both flexible folks and their non-flexible friends.

For those with loose muscles, start by slowing down the movement. Just as in the mobility test described, there is a noticeable difference in effort between passively stretching and moving with control. Think of the commonly practiced transition of moving from a Downward Dog into a simple Lunge.

As a flexible person, it is fairly easy for me to swing my leg in the air and quickly step forward into a lunge. However, this dependence on momentum limits my ability to engage my muscles in that action, setting me up for hyperextension and possible injury.

I’ve since learned to slowly lift my leg and to control the ascent. I pay attention to the subtle shifts in my body as the leg gets higher and I avoid compensatory movement in the pelvis so that I can identify where my active range of motion ends. When I can no longer control the movement, I stop moving and keep my leg still for a few breaths before stepping forward slowly. This adjustment has added strength to my glutes and hamstrings, which have, in turn, helped to stabilize my pelvis.

Now, take that same transition from Downward Dog to a Lunge but apply it to someone with less flexible muscles. A tighter person might benefit from bending their knees in Downward Dog so that the tightness of the hamstrings doesn’t facilitate a tuck in the pelvis. They can keep the knee of the standing leg a bit bent while they lift the other leg up, trying to straighten their lifted leg as much as they can. The lifted leg will likely stop moving fairly quickly, but pausing once the leg stops lifting will gradually increase their range of motion. Another suggestion might be to lower the leg a few degrees for a breath and then lift it again to see if their body receives the stretch more easily. In time, their end range of motion and ease of execution will increase.

A stiff person could use the same technique in passive stretches. I encourage my less flexible alignment and yoga students to touch the edges of their discomfort in a passive stretch and to back off periodically so that their nervous system can adjust to the movement. They will increase their passive range of motion over time, as well as develop tone in the muscles so that the muscles can release as well as contract.

For example, in Pigeon Pose, another common yoga posture, a person with less hip flexibility could begin by doing a supine pigeon (at BodyFix we call this an “Assisted Hip Lift”). They can graduate to the more typical yoga pose pigeon, but they can stay upright in their torso so that they don’t yank on the hip and lower back muscles. I encourage these students to shift away from the stretch for a few breaths and then return to it. This approach allows their body to acclimate to the pose and other movements that call upon hip flexibility.

Very flexible people could challenge themselves by practicing what’s called Active Pigeon. In Active Pigeon, you deliberately contract the glute and pelvic muscles and resist your passive end range to avoid sinking into default flexibility. An additional challenge could be to keep a little space between the floor and your pelvis by pressing your hands into blocks that are placed alongside your hips. Your glutes have to perform in order to keep the stability in your pelvis without sinking into your lower back. It’s a technique that I use in my own yoga practice, especially when I want to add a little strength to my hips.

Whether you’re stiff as a board or move like a rag doll, mobility training is a way that we can all achieve balance and ease in our bodies. Try these techniques on your own or schedule a session at BodyFix Method™ to learn more! We have a simple 3-session program that will both increase your mobility and build on your flexibility. The end result will be much greater ease and strength in moving.

Elaine O’Brien

Millions of Americans Are In Pain. Why?

The Most Common Pains Are Low Back Pain, Migraine or Severe Headache, and Knee Pain.

Each month, one in four American adults suffers non-traumatic pain for at least 24 hours. That pain lasts for a year in nearly 60% of those over 65 and in 37% of those aged 20 to 44.

  • In a 2014 CDC survey, more than one in four American adults reported low back pain in the last three months.
  • Serious psychological distress is increased by over five times from low back pain.
  • In 2010, 18% of American adults reported migraine or severe headache in the past three months.
  • Over 30% of adults over 18 and 50% of adults 65 and older reported joint pain, joint aches, or joint stiffness in the past 30 days. The knee is the most common site of joint pain.
  • More Americans suffer from diabetes. Diabetes strikes 11% of Americans aged 40 to 59 and 23% of Americans aged 60 and older. (CDC’s “Health, United States, 2012”)

Is there anything you can do to avoid being one of these statistics? Yes. It’s called exercise.

Now, don’t turn the page. Exercise is a winner for everyone. It works, and it’s good for you, short-term, mid-term, and long-term.

Can exercise help low-back pain?

Absolutely. In fact, low back pain is rarely helped by anything else. Surgery often causes more problems than it set out to eliminate. Drugs can cause you to walk around in a fog all day or tear up your stomach. Neither treats the cause. Exercise and alignment strategies do.

Can exercise help migraines?

Yes, just ask any movement therapist at BodyFix Method™ and he or she can give you a list of alignment and position exercises that will reduce or even eliminate migraines. We have done it before.

Can exercise help knee pain, joint stiffness, and similar ailments?

Guaranteed. The knee is just a box. It rarely causes any problem on its own. It’s usually the victim of postural alignment, poor muscle tone, and muscle imbalances. Exercise wins on all counts here. Osteopenia and osteoarthritis don’t have to happen.

A wayward client called this afternoon and told me that: my program required a real commitment, and he was just too busy. After I retire, Bill, in a year or two, then I’ll come back and get on the program. Do you think he will? I hope so, but I am not optimistic. It has to come from within.

So, let’s say that you want to begin exercising. What will motivate you? Fear is a good motivator, fear of pain, fear of arthritis, fear of not being able to move as well as your next-door neighbor who’s 5 years older than you are. All of these are good reasons to exercise. Pick one.

Fear is good. Worry about diabetes; it’s certainly high on the radar screen as we eat more, walk less, and sit even more. Set a goal to walk 10,000 steps each day. Make it your anti-diabetes exercise.

Fear of headaches is good. Rounded shoulders and forward heads put huge strains on muscles, and muscles talk back. More migraine and severe headache pain are all part of this loop.

Let’s focus on that fear of arthritis, joint pain and the most prevalent, knee pain. Most knee pain is preventable, so let’s start with prevention.

Here are three exercises to get you walking better, to take the strain off your knees, and to keep you out of the clutches of the local surgeons and medication gurus. The exercises are not hard, and you can do them each day at home. No equipment needed!


  1. Cat/Cow: Go to the floor on your hands and knees, and start with a flat back. Extend your feet and put your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Now exhale, tuck your chin to your chest, and arch your back like a cat. Hold for a few seconds. Inhale your head up and allow your low back to curve down, like the old cow in the field with a swayback. Repeat this up and down movement 10 times, breathing out and in.
  2. Seated Knee Pillow Squeezes. Sit straight in a hard-bottomed chair, feet parallel and pointed straight ahead. Put a pillow or cushion between your knees. Place your hands, palms up, on your lap and roll your shoulders back. Firmly squeeze the pillow between your knees, hold a few beats, and then release. Repeat this 20 times, rest, and repeat again twice more.
  3. Air Bench Go to the wall, in bare feet or rubber-soled shoes. Stand with your back to the wall and your feet pointed straight ahead and hip-width apart. Slide your back down the wall so you are sitting in the air with your back pressed into the wall, knees in line with your ankles, not over your toes. Pull your belly button to your spine, and your spine to the wall. Put your hands on your thighs, palms up. It makes the exercise easier. Breathe and hold for 30 seconds; this will take a while to reach. Build up to 2 minutes.


These are three of a helpful dozen. But, it’s a start. Try these and let us know if you want more. Don’t be shy. Your well-being is important to me; let me know if you want more help.

If you would like a more complete package of exercises, please fill out the comment below this article, and we’ll send you a menu of simple at-home exercises that will keep you out of pain.

Be well. Let’s move together.

Fact File – The Psychiatric Side of These Superfoods

Image credit – Pexels.com


This blog post is written by a guest contributor, Jenny Travens. You can read more of her work at Superfoods Living.

What are Superfoods?

Superfoods are powerful nutrient-dense ingredients with many health benefits. Superfoods are foods, mostly plant-based but also some fish and dairy products- all thought to be nutritionally dense and healthy. Most nutritionists and dieticians would describe “superfoods” as more of a marketing term for foods that have health benefits. Most scientists do not use the term because although the food itself may be healthful, the processing may not be.

However, as in most things, an educated consumer is going to get the most out of the superfoods he or she buys. There are no worldwide criteria determining what is and what isn’t a superfood. There are as many standards for the term Organic as there are countries importing or producing superfoods, according to the American Heart Association.

The USA has its own standard and almost every producer of superfoods, including China, has its own standard as well. If you don’t read the labels, know where the superfood comes from and how it is produced, you will likely be purchasing a product with fewer benefits than you thought.

What is the relationship of the Brain to Superfoods?

The brain controls everything. It is on call and working whether we are awake or asleep. Everything works better with a healthy brain. In other words, we need to have good mental health.

What are the most important factors affecting mental health? Socio-economics, physical health, and lifestyle all influence mental wellness. So it’s not surprising that food plays an important role in our mental health and well being.

It should be easy to define our daily eating patterns and the choices we make about what we eat. However, some surprising facts present themselves when we begin comparing everyday diets.

People who stick to traditional diets have a 25 to 30% lower chance of depressive spells. A traditional diet, often called a Mediterranean diet, contains more vegetables, fruits, unprocessed grains, and less meat. It is healthier for the brain as well as the body. This makes sense.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said in its latest fact sheet that an estimated 300 million people worldwide are affected by depression. The developing field of nutritional psychiatry is finding more connections between mood and diet. Many are observational but these observations appear across countries, cultures, and age groups. Disorders like dementia, autism, several intellectual disabilities, and other development ailments are on the rise, too. Although an aging population and better-defined disorders may influence this finding, it is possible that a poor diet may contribute substantially to these issues.

Depression and other mental health issues began to be seen as serious concerns a few decades back. Perhaps it is because we relied more on traditional foods and not as much on pick-up foods, not so much on prepared foods. Today, the Internet is flooded with sites on food and how to prepare innovative dishes but few are focused on the mental health benefits of these dishes. I am not saying that creative presentation and preparation isn’t beneficial, but we may be missing the essential elements of healthy food.

Unfortunately, in our eating habits, we tend to be led by advertising, and to focus on flavor, fun, comfort, and ease of preparation more than on our health, mental or physical. Healthy food and recipes are often replaced by popular, easy to prepare, but high calorie, high sugar foods, foods that are missing essential nutrients. One doesn’t have to visit the traditional junk food outlets to find large amounts of sugar, fructose, and other harmful ingredients in everyday meals.

Even as we label a food a superfood, one that offers a strong health advantage, we often don’t focus on its harmful ingredients and their side effects that may be greater than the list of solid benefits.

Let me talk about the link between these well-known superfoods today and mental health. Fatty fish, red wine, and pomegranate juice all fit into the popular idea of superfoods and they can be, but there are a few issues that you should be aware of with each of them

  • Fatty Fish
Image credit – Pexels.com

Fish is known for its rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which helps in regulating triglyceride levels responsible for cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

Regular consumption of Omega-3 acids lowers depression and stress, benefits bipolar disorders, and boosts the effects of antidepressants. Many medical practitioners often ask their patients to have fatty fish at least once a week.

Medical professionals prefer their patients eat actual fish (like salmon, tuna and sardines) over fish oil supplements because fish are a natural source of Omega-3. Supplements & tablets, however, are suitable for people who are vegan or for those who have allergies to fish. In addition, some fish like mackerel can have dangerously high levels of mercury, PCBs, and other toxins. While pregnant women and children should avoid these completely, other adults shouldn’t consume more than 7 ounces a week.

Depending on where the fish are procured, you can make a decision to purchase or to pass. The discussion about farmed fish or fish caught in the wild is an interesting one and there are pros and cons offered by each viewpoint. Know your purveyor of fresh fish and become knowledgeable about his purchasing practices so that you can make educated decisions about eating either farmed or fish caught in the wild.

  • Red Wine
Image credit – Pexels.com

Nearly 245 billion liters of alcohol are consumed each year across the world. The consumption of whiskey and other hard drinks has not considerably increased over the years, but it is still a huge number. The love for wine hasn’t waned either. Wine consumption has been holding steady in recent years.

A few years ago, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine released a study that said that Resveratrol, which is found in red wine, increases levels of an enzyme called Heme Oxygenase, now known to shield nerve cells in the brain from damage. The study was encouraging enough for the medical community to do further research, and today, we have countless studies to support the fact that drinking red wine in moderation is beneficial for health.

While drinking red wine has a positive effect on overall health, too much of a good thing could lead to negative health effects. Drinking wine in moderation and pairing it with other healthy foods is generally suggested. Alcohol dependency, depression, weight gain, and liver issues are common side effects when alcohol is consumed in large quantities over a long period. However, drinking in moderation adds enjoyment to our lives, our meals, and perhaps even to our life span.

  • Pomegranate
Image credit – Pexels.com

Here’s another food known to lessen various disease risk factors. Certain ingredients in pomegranate such as Polyphenols,  have potential antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Polyphenols can help prevent high blood pressure and high cholesterol. They also help with weight loss and detoxification. Pomegranate juice has one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants.

There is a question regarding the benefits of polyphenols for people suffering from high blood pressure. Does it help or harm those with low blood pressure? No one is sure of this interaction. Currently, the relationship of polyphenols with medications is being studied and the hope is that people suffering from low blood pressure will also be helped by these antioxidants.

Excessive intake of pomegranate and its juice (more than 8-12 ounces per day) can lead to gastrointestinal tract issues. While these symptoms are not acute and usually disappear after a few hours, they can be an issue, especially considering that an unhealthy stomach can affect our nervous system and brain. The brain works on gastrointestinal and immune functions that shape the gut’s microbial makeup. Our gastrointestinal health governs our nervous system and the operating functions of the brain.


It’s hard to ignore what’s being said for and against these foods. The intelligent method would be to understand that super foods are there for your enjoyment and should be taken as part of your overall diet. Food is a major supplement and eating an orange or an apricot will aid our nervous system and our body’s health far more than a capsule of Vitamin A or C.

The ideal diet is one that is chiefly plant-based. It should offer a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthful animal products. Superfoods could be a good entry into healthy eating, and understanding the nutritional value what you eat is interesting, but there are lots of healthy foods out there, even if they don’t have the “super” label attached. You can read a complete list here.

An intelligent and rational approach is the answer. This article is not intended to deter anyone from having fish, red wine, or pomegranate juice. Quite the contrary. However, I am suggesting that knowing our sources of healthy fish, drinking wine in moderation, and understanding the benefits of pomegranate juice in the context of a healthy diet will go a long way toward maintaining a healthy lifestyle. A knowledgeable consumer will be a healthy individual as well as a smart shopper.


Jenny Travens from Superfoods Living.


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How The New Health Care Initiative Shakes Up The Status Quo

Health care stocks fell last Tuesday, reflecting investor concerns that the just announced Amazon, JP Morgan, and Berkshire Hathaway health care initiative could shake up the status quo.

Isn’t that just about the best headline you have seen in months? Anything that might provide better care, a superior medical response to your needs, and lower costs is certainly welcome.

This new initiative aims to improve healthcare outcomes for employees in a cost-effective way. If it does, it will change it for all of us who are self-employed, free-lancers, and members of the gig-economy. According to the companies, it will be “free from profit-making incentives and constraints,” and will focus in the beginning on technology solutions. U.S. health care costs continue to rise year over year despite efforts to curb them. Most experts believe the fault lies with too-high prices.

Why This New Initiative is So Threatening

The fact that big investors see the competition as threatening is encouraging. These investors keep the price of the medical system in the stratosphere by supporting higher and higher quarterly earnings and giving $28 million dollar average salaries to their CEO’s. Yes, $28 million is the average salary for the CEO of our major health insurance providers! The new initiative may shake up the status quo, given that the three companies have over 1,200,000 employees among them. IMHO, the biggest plus is that small business employers and individuals who are fed up with poor and expensive healthcare will join this effort. If they do, change can actually happen.

The three companies admit that they “do not come to this problem with answers. But we also do not accept it [the problem] as inevitable,” Buffett said. “Rather, we share the belief that putting our collective resources behind the country’s best talent can, in time, check the rise in health costs while concurrently enhancing patient satisfaction and outcomes.”

That is a start. It is a daunting proposition, one that will test the skill and determination of each of the executives in charge of the initiative for their company. The negatives will start with “it can’t be done, the system is too big, the doctors won’t go along, or the pharmaceutical companies will stop it.” You can add your own reasons to mine but the system must change.

There may be few areas of the economy that rival health care in terms of complexity, low quality, opacity, and unreasonable cost. The task of forming “an independent company free from profit-making incentives and constraints” to “provide consumers with simplified, high quality, and transparent services at reasonable cost”, as Warren Buffet said, will be difficult. But it can be done. And it must be done. Most of the innovations in the health care industry have come from corporations, not the government and not from health insurers.

Working Americans are using less care and paying significantly more, a capitalistic anomaly, where common sense says that lower demand would cause prices to drop. Not so in a fragmented and profit-driven healthcare system, where prices for every type of inpatient admission has increased by double-digits over the last five years! Expecting change to come from the insurance companies is foolish. Corporations are not human but they too are hard-wired against change. The insurance companies have no incentive to change but they do have a major incentive to cut services. Here’s an interesting and frightening health care story, originally published in the New York TimesWall Street Journal.

A Way-Too-Common Healthcare Horror Story

Anthem, one of the largest insurers with more than 40 million subscribers, recently denied coverage for a July 2017 ER visit by a Kentucky subscriber that it deemed “inappropriate”. The subscriber was covered under her husband’s large corporate plan with Anthem. The insurance company’s reviewing staff determined that the visit was not a true emergency.

The facts on the patient’s side are clear. She went to the ER after a night of worsening fever and increasing pain on the right side of her stomach. Her mother, a former nurse, thought it might be appendicitis and urged her daughter to go to the ER.

Multiple tests, including a CT scan and ultrasound, were done before discovering that she had ovarian cysts. The cost of her treatment and an overnight stay was $12,000. If you can’t get your head around $12,000 for these tests and an overnight stay, you’re not alone. But, that’s also the point of this new initiative, isn’t it? Three weeks later, the subscriber was told by Anthem that she would be responsible for all of the $12,000 cost. This woman is a schoolteacher; where does she have $12,000 for an expense that by all logic should have been covered?

Here’s the catch. The ER doctors don’t know what the patient has until they do tests, treat the patient with fluids in some cases and medication in others, and perhaps, keep the patient over night for a CT-scan, an MRI, or a series of blood tests to find the cause or extent of the pain that brought the patient to the ER. Only the end result, with the now-determined diagnosis and applicable codes, is sent to the insurance company for review and payment. The initial diagnosis of the patient and his or her complaint is put in the attending ER physician’s notes, and generally ignored after that.

This new policy now expects subscribers to diagnose themselves. In order to be paid by the subscriber’s policy, that diagnosis should fit the insurance company’s opinion of “appropriate and necessary”. For ER payments, the health problem must be timely and demand immediate care, such as a car accident, a broken leg, a stroke, a heart attack, appendicitis, or severe bleeding.

As I write, this policy is being rolled out in four states and will force us to try to be medical professionals, able to diagnose our doubled-over stomach pain and nausea as fibroids, ovarian cysts, or pelvic pain, and deal with it “appropriately”. Anthem and perhaps other insurers may not cover these types of sudden and painful conditions in the future because the subscriber should have known about their “pre-existing conditions” with regular visits to her primary care provider! How? Even with insurance, many cannot afford to go to their regular provider, to take time off work or caring for children or aged parents. The appointment is put off and then the ER becomes a must-go appointment, a visit the patient never wished for.

This will save the insurance company money by forcing the diagnosis of a perceived ER condition onto the subscriber, compelling him to practice medicine without a license or the skill to do so. If an Anthem subscriber has chest pains at midnight, and goes to an ER, the subscriber will likely pay for the experience. Anthem is essentially saying that he should wait until the morning, call his primary care physician and make an appointment. Or, failing that, he should go to a primary care or walk-in clinic and see if he can be treated there. In Anthem’s view, most ER visits can be avoided, as they are not “true” emergencies.

Now, For The Good News…

The schoolteacher appealed the decision by Anthem and after much back and forth, Anthem agreed to pick up the ER expense. There was no logic to their denying the claim and it is difficult for me to find their logic in later paying for it. The fact is that if the subscriber had not appealed, Anthem’s policy would have been reinforced and they would have pocketed the $12,000 and possibly bankrupted the subscriber.

I hope the heads of the new Amazon, JP Morgan, and Berkshire Hathaway consortium will debate the intelligence of that position in the months and years ahead. But, for the moment, I am going to enjoy the dream that this group will be able to make meaningful change for their employees and that that benefits can also be applied to the millions of us who are members of various other health care plans.

Your comments and thoughts are welcome as always. By the way, most health insurers treat BodyFix Method™ as an out-of-network provider, so we have a great deal of experience with the trials and tribulations I wrote about here. We are second-guessed daily by experts hundreds of miles away.


William M. Boland

Balance – For Millennials & Beyond


Why Are More People of All Ages Falling?

The frequency and drop in age of people coming in to see us with balance issues is increasing. We used to help clients 50+ with balance problems but now we are seeing more people in their 30’s and even late 20’s with balance concerns. Why?

Do you remember when you were a kid, running around and bouncing off everything? Hands and arms flopping around like a windsock, legs and feet all over the place. You had no balance issues then. Fast-forward to high school; your movements became more controlled and refined. You had more control over your body and more strength, what we call mobility. But then something happened between entering college and graduation. You came to a fork in the road. Gym classes disappeared, pick-up games with friend vanished, after-school sports became less of a focus, and happy hour required less effort.

How Did This Happen?

Take a step back and it is no wonder that all that most of us have lost some of our sense of balance. After high school, we started training our bodies to be expert at activities involving sitting. We became Olympian sitters. As children, we squirmed in our desks, hard-pressed to sit still for even a short. Now, we have become expert marathon sitters, able to go hours without once breaking our slouched form! We have trained ourselves to become peak performance chair athletes.

Use it or lose it.

The beauty of the human body is that we have the ability to adapt to and change with our environment. When we don’t use a skill, the brain files it away for a rainy day. Other, more current information and movement takes its place. You may not have ridden a bike in years but you never forget how to ride it. Learned movements can be recalled with a little practice. The balance and movement issues arise when the body’s form, shape, and skills have changed so much that the brain can’t find its familiar balance and movement patterns. It is not able to duplicate the skill we learned and knew. We have gone from pliable and balanced to stiff and hunched forward, an unrecognizable medium for the brain to work through.

Although there are many areas where one can focus to improve balance, I am going to focus on the head, neck, and feet. We can re-balance the whole body by starting at the head and shoulders. I was recently at a workshop where our primary focus was on activating the muscles of the neck. I was stunned by how much more agile I was afterward! Our feet take on too much work when their movement is limited by functional weakness at the neck and shoulders. These exercises will help bring your neck back to balance from all those hard hours training in front of screens. They will wake up your feet for a softer landing and more control.

What can I do to fix it?

Standing Arm Circles – This is one of the most important exercises for helping balance and correcting text neck. Start with your spine against the edge of a wall or a door, arms straight out from the shoulders, hands in a light fist with thumbs facing back. Pull your shoulder blades toward your spine. Start making circles with your whole arm about the size of a dinner plate, keeping the arms back far enough so that you can’t see your hand out of the corner of your eye. Keep the core tight and the ribs vertical by staying flat against the wall or the door. Do 20 circles backward, following your thumbs. Change direction and circle your arms forward, again following your thumbs. Try to build up to 40 each way daily.

Prone Super Person – This is a gym class oldie but a goodie for building strength in the back, neck and shoulders. Go to the floor and lie on your stomach with your hands out in front. Squeeze your butt muscles (glutes) and lift your chest, shoulders, and neck off the ground while holding the arms out in front. Start with 1 round of 5-6 seconds. Build up to 6 rounds of 6 seconds each.

Standing One-Leg Calf Raises – Find a wall or table for balance. Cross one foot behind the other and slowly lift up onto the ball of your foot. This exercise is great for improving ankle strength and mobility. Take your time and keep the hips from rotating. Start with 7 Calf Raises to 10 each side. Do more on the side that is weakest. Build up to 2 sets of 10 Calf Raises per leg.


Standing & Moving Funny Walk – This series is great for building dynamic stability and balance. Remember to keep the head and shoulders back. Pace the length of the room at least twice for each: walking on heels; walking on the balls of your feet; walking on the outside of your feet; and walking on the inside edge of your feet. Go through all positions at least one full run-through. Rest and add the other set. Do more on angles that feel most challenging.




Standing In-line Balance – This exercise pulls the whole series of exercises together in a way that tests and enhances your balance. This particular exercise is an excellent way to gauge how your balance changes. Start by standing with one foot in front of the other heel to toe. Slowly bring your front foot to rest on the top of your other foot near the ankle. Try holding this for 1 minute. You may feel burning in your shins and the side of your foot. This is great! Those muscles are getting stronger.

Follow this group of exercises and your balance and body awareness will improve dramatically. If you would like more personal assistance, comment below and we will be glad to help you with an Initial Evaluation or the full Balance program with these specific balance and awareness exercises.


Kathryn Kohler

How to Move with Grace, Balance, and Control

Learn how to move, climb, run, dance, and fall with grace.

Start Out Being Aligned

This is where movement, balance and control begin. Doing any exercise, any movement, even just stepping off a curb, or walking down the driveway can be harmful when you are out of alignment. This is fact, not opinion. Make sure you do no harm to yourself. Self-preservation should be everyone’s number one priority.

Check your alignment by standing in front of a mirror in a pair of shorts. What do you see?

  • Is your head forward?
  • Are your shoulders and upper back rounded?
  • Do your shoulder blades flare out?
  • Is your hip up or out to the side?
  • Are your knees turned in?
  • Are your feet turned out?

Ask a friend to take a set of four standing pictures. Take a look at them and see what you think.

If you don’t see anything alarming, count yourself lucky. But take a minute and double-check. Back yourself up against a wall. Put your heels against the wall and see what else goes easily to the wall.

Your butt should be on the wall, equal pressure on the left and the right. Both shoulder blades should be on the wall. Your head should be on the wall, your chin level with the floor. If everything is in line, standing straight against the wall should be easy. However, if you are not comfortable standing here for a few minutes, that’s an indication that something is not in line. Go see the team at BodyFix Method™. They will get you back into alignment and moving with ease. 

Worried About Your Balance?

Your body’s stability is maintained by your autonomic nervous system, which also maintains your breathing, a vital system that you rarely think about. As long as we are centered along a vertical axis, we can move, climb, run, dance, and fall with grace. There’s a feeling that our balance system declines with age, but growing older doesn’t mean we have to fall or worry about our balance. Stay aligned and we have little to fear.

Proprioception is the sense of our body’s position in space, a 24/7 gyroscope that helps us balance and move with ease. When your body is in line, the nervous system works and can recognize changes in your world of surfaces, whether it is ice on the sidewalk, a higher than expected curb, or a tricycle out of place.

Much of our response to unsuspected changes in surfaces is a reflex action. Muscles respond reflexively to maintain balance and our upright posture. If the muscles don’t work on reflex, then we can fall, as the brain takes too long to process the information. Quick reflexes serve us better and faster.

Want better balance? Build and reinforce your reflex responses. Make as many basic actions as possible reflex movements: walking, climbing, running, dancing, even falling. Make them pure reflex. Wait for the brain to work through what’s going on and you’ll be picking yourself up off the floor. Reflexes are faster and they are easily learned. A reflex is a habit. Just learn good ones.

Balance training can improve the function of individuals with chronic ankle pain or instability. If you have knee osteoarthritis, or have suffered a meniscus tear, chances are that your balance is worse than someone who hasn’t had these issues. Balance is worse in knee patients with an ACL or hip injury. Injuries do bring on more injuries. The good news is that you can take a few simple steps to stop that cycle.

If your reflexes are slow, then falls or a close call will happen far too often. Build and reinforce your reflex responses. If you hit an uneven piece of sidewalk or if the stair tread is loose, a reflex response will catch you and all will be good. The trauma of a fall or of suddenly jolted and overworked limbs won’t be your fate. If you strengthen your reflex response with simple balance exercises, daily activities will become easier, more graceful, and safer.


What Do I Have To Do?

The balance training you and I need requires little space and almost no equipment. You can combine balance training with strength, endurance, cardio, and flexibility exercises. You can do balance training at a gym or at home. Balance training has helped athletes with hip injuries and ankle sprains, children with vestibular (inner ear) problems, chronic knee injuries, elderly individuals with ataxia (frequent falls), and even lower back pain for young and old alike.

Balance board training is a very efficient tool in rehabilitation because it actually produces greater leg and thigh muscle strength gains than a series of gym based weight machine exercises, which take far longer. Balance sandal training (V. Janda programs) has been shown to increase isolation and speed of key hip and buttock muscles.

A program of alignment therapy exercises, an approach used by the therapists at BodyFix Method™, improves stability in older adults. A longer-term program of Tai Chi also improves balance abilities of older adults. That improvement will persist after the training stops. That’s impressive! It also improves the balance of younger people, but most young people don’t think that they will ever need it!

Balance Training – Steps to Take

Let’s begin with a few easy steps:

Balance training begins with your feet. Pay careful attention to your arches. You need to be able to form a good arch in your foot without bending your toes. Flat feet don’t help with balance. Flat feet can’t respond quickly to changes in conditions; there’s no reflex reponse with flat feet.

  • It can be challenging to learn how to form an arch. A simple trick is to soften your knees and then turn your knees out without moving your feet. This will lift the arch up automatically. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Rest and repeat.
  • Another option is to grip and release the floor with your forefoot (toes) to activate the deep intrinsic arch muscles. We call this exercise Toe Scrunches. It can be done standing (harder) or seated (easier) and it will build strong feet and arches. A few minutes a day doing Toe Scrunches will wake up your feet, support an arch, and build overall balance and stability.

Once you have learned how to make a decent arch, then you can try a few balance exercises.

Proceed from sitting to standing and from unstable to stable surfaces. Hold the arch throughout the exercises.

  • An excellent beginning balance exercise is simply to stand on one leg in a doorway for 30 seconds. Then do it with your eyes closed. Try it twice a day, three or four times at each setting. It will get easier. This is called Tree Pose and is a staple of a yoga practice. (Alej, can we refer to Elaine’s blog here?)
  • You can then add various leaning movements while you are standing. A single step taken forward with a forward lean becomes a lunge. Holding it emphasizes alignment, balance, and control. Try a single backward or side step. Do these slowly six to twelve times, once per day. A favorite exercise of mine is Walking Backward. Find a clear space, clasp your hands behind your back (easier) or your head (harder), and take a step backward, followed by another and so on for the length of the room. Build up to 1-2 minutes walking backward. This exercise will reset the thigh bones in the hip socket and work muscles that you don’t usually use in walking.

Balance is as important as strength or flexibility to overall physical fitness. Most injuries occur suddenly when an unexpected force is encountered, such as when an ankle is sprained by an uneven sidewalk or and unseen curb or step. Balance is even more important than strength in preventing an injury.

If you would like some professional help, please fill out the Contact form below this article. We will get back to you with a point of view and some suggested exercises to improve your balance, posture, and alignment. We would love for you to come in for an Evaluation and to build a balance program to improve your balance, posture, and alignment.

William M. Boland

Slips, Trips, and Shoes That Grip: How to Guard Against Falling

When the weather drops and the snow falls, you can expect an uptick in news articles that advise readers about how to avoid falls. This New York Times article on How To Prevent Falls shares sound and practical advice about staying on your feet when the weather is icy or when you’re reaching for a jar of sauce indoors on a stepladder.

 What the article doesn’t discuss is how to condition the body to remain balanced, even in unstable conditions. In addition to suggesting common-sense preventative measures and appropriate footwear, Bodyfix Method™ offers specific strengthening and alignment-based techniques that train our bodies to stay steady. Keep reading to learn how muscular imbalances contribute to harmful falls and how to take proactive steps toward moving with confidence.

To Stay Balanced, You Have To Practice Balancing.

Learning to balance under challenging circumstances requires some study of your current movement patterns. Most of us have one leg that is a bit easier to balance on, and one leg that prefers to lift. To see which leg is your “standing leg”, try Tree Pose. Practicing this familiar yoga posture will not only assist in developing balance, but it will also serve as a diagnostic that can help you identify current imbalances.

Tree Pose

Once you are able to recognize which leg is more comfortable balancing, strengthen the weaker leg by balancing a little longer on that leg. Even if you lose your balance for a moment, take a few breaths and return to the balance. Your weaker leg will develop strength and you will feel more confident and relaxed when practicing the following exercises. Practicing Tree Pose will also serve as a way of measuring your progress as you become more comfortable balancing.

What Does Balance Have To Do With Walking?

One common mistake many people make when walking is turning the toes out and “throwing out” when taking a stride, instead of stepping forward and keeping the toes straight. While it may initially appear that balance is assisted in this movement pattern, turning out when you stride will compromise the knees and limit proper use of the feet. Additionally, the psoas (a hip flexor) takes on the work of the quads and, as a result, the glutes (butt muscles) are disabled. This movement pattern excludes nearly all of your walking muscles! Limited access to strength causes weakness, and weakness leads to imbalance, which naturally lends itself to falling. To train your feet to remain straight when you walk and to tone the adductor muscles (inner thighs), try Seated Knee Pillow Squeezes. This exercise will coordinate the hips, thighs, and feet while it helps you become grounded in stride and in standing.

Seated Knee Pillow Squeezes

Another crucial exercise for remaining steady is Standing In Line Balance. The first step of this exercise is to step one foot forward, a generous strides distance. Make sure that both heels are rooted to the floor and that all ten toes are pointing forward. This challenging exercise demands that the big toe in the front leg remains planted, which will help you resist over-pronating and rolling the ankle in. The back leg is in hip extension, which will enable glute function. The result is greater access to walking muscles, which helps facilitate and build strength. Try challenging yourself by lifting and lowering your arms. This will shake up the balance, but by consciously disrupting the balance, your body will learn to adapt and you will become more comfortable in less stable conditions.

As you progress, you can layer additional strengthening variations on top of the Standing In Line Balance exercise. To add Standing In Line Glute Squeezes, put yourself in the Standing In Line Balance stance, but add on slow and steady squeezes of the butt muscles. Strong glutes are crucial for walking well, and most of us have glute muscles that are underwhelming at best. A strong backside will also balance strength in the front, which will help us remain upright instead of falling forward. To further assist in staying vertical, practice Standing In Line Arm Circles. Again, it’s the same organization of the lower body as in the Standing In Line Balance, but it also directly targets the neck, shoulders, and upper back. Engage the upper body and you strongly reduce the likelihood of falling forward.

Standing In-Line Balance

Here’s a few additional tips:


  1. Practice these exercises on a hard floor while barefoot. Of course non-slip shoes are helpful when you’re outdoors or managing a slippery surface, but your feet must feel the ground in order to build strength and proprioception (link to Anita’s blog?). The balance work will probably feel more difficult without footwear, but as a result you will feel much more confident when your shoes are on and you’re navigating the outdoors.
  2. Stand in a doorway while practicing these exercises. A doorway (or a nearby wall or chair) will give you that little bit of assurance when testing your balance. If you feel yourself tipping, let your hands reach for the doorway so you can regain steadiness. It’s a simple but useful assist as you challenge your body’s balance.
  3. Try these exercises daily! It takes time and consistently applied effort to build strength and balance. A little bit of practice each day will bear greater results than one workout a week dedicated to balance, so take a few minutes each day to challenge yourself. You’ll be amazed at how confident you feel!

 Reach out if you have any questions. If you would like more information or specific help, please fill out the Contact form below. We would love to be able to help you stay balanced and well in the New Year!

Elaine O’Brien