When it comes to showing our age, posture is a big giveaway. As we get older, it’s common for the head and chest to curl inward and the spine to scrunch into the letter "C," leaving the straightness of our youth behind and caving our bodies back into the fetal position. But bad posture is not a done deal. There are easy ways to stand upright -- and take years off our appearance.
Try The Balloon Technique. Stand up with your best posture. Now imagine there is a balloon on a string extending from the crown of your head and that this balloon is pulling your head upwards towards the sky. Continue doing this for a few weeks, and the habit should stick.
Get Moving. It’s a fact of life: Sitting promotes slouching. As our muscles tire of being in the same position, we slump. Make a habit of getting up and moving, even if just for a minute, once every 30 minutes. Also, get a chair with sufficient lumbar support. This means your chair’s backrest should have natural curve that fits into the hollow of your lower back. Basically, when you're sitting down, your spine should be in contact with the backrest from your tailbone right up to your upper back.
Nix High Heels. Heels alter the body’s center of gravity and throw it out of alignment. If heels are a must, consider the smaller types.
Use Reminders. Visual reminders to stand up tall really work. For example, if you sit at a desk a lot, make a sketch of a stick figure on a post-it note.
Relax. A rigid body is not the goal. Shift your body weight around often - and while you’re at it, flash a smile. That’s another secret to a youthful appearance.
Robin Westen is ThirdAge’s medical reporter. Check for her daily updates. Her newest book, co-authored with Dr. Alyssa Dweck, is “V Is For Vagina.”