FitOldDog Recommends Posture Training THEN Weight Training To Prevent Osteoporosis

Hi folks,

osteoporosis, poor posture, FitOldDog's advice, bond density,

Osteoporosis comes with poor posture, but does poor posture play a causative role?

I have had a modicum of success in a number of challenging endeavors, such as photography and water polo in my teens, as a veterinarian and amateur flautist in my twenties, a neuropathologist in my thirties, a nose scientist in my forties, in applied mathematics in my fifties, and as a triathlete in my late fifties and sixties, but one of the most challenging things with which I have had to deal, in my late sixties, is my poor posture. I met Deb five years ago, and one of the first things she said, having had a background in dance, was, “Kevin, you really need to improve your posture.” I was surprised, as this was the first time anyone had suggested such a thing. Then Deb’s friend, Tara, said the same thing during our Pilates and Gyrotonic sessions, as did Karen, my Feldenkrais instructor. So I was sent to Rebecca for dance and, little did I know it, posture training. My posture was much like that of the lady in the middle of the adjacent drawing – head and shoulder blades displaced forward, shortened pectoral muscles, a rounding of the shoulders, rotation and imbalance of the pelvis with associated stresses on the legs and shortening of the body.

daily activity and posture, poor posture, xray of skeleton at computer,

You daily activities will determine the stresses on your body and thus will sculpt your posture

It is easy to think of bones as being like dead sticks covered in meat and gristle, or as biological struts that just support the system. They don’t look very alive on your plate after a meal, and that is what most of us see when it comes to bones, most of the time. Nothing could be further from the truth. Living bones respond to load, and they do so very dynamically, and that load is constantly provided by gravitational forces acting on your skeleton as a result of the mass of your body parts pulling towards the center of the earth. These forces, combined with your genetic make up, nutrition and other factors, determine the internal structure of your bones, sculpting their connective tissue and it’s regional mineralization to optimize bone density for strength, flexibility, and resilience. This is one of the big challenges of any space program, how to maintain healthy bone density in the absence of normal gravitational forces.

How you stand or sit will determine the direction of forces through your bones, and will therefore determine their strength. One real key to preventing osteoporosis is good posture. This issue is nicely presented in Chez Ollie, as follows:

“Astronauts lose one to two percent of their bone density for every month they spend in space.”

Mechanical stress going through the bones helps the boney matrix create bone to counteract those stresses, which is why “weight-bearing exercise” is strongly suggested to keep bones strong. Exercise aside, I have noticed that many people’s natural standing posture does not actually put much weight through the bones. The pelvis is often shifted forward, the ribcage is tilted back, and the head is forward. When I stand behind a person standing this way and push slowly but forcefully down both shoulders, the body tends to buckle sending the pelvis even further forward and the ribs further back. This suggests that the weight is going through the soft tissue rather than through the bones. Maybe the first step to maintaining and building bone mass is to make sure one is standing in a way that actually loads the bones!

The goal is to stack the bricks by trying to become as tall as possible, reaching the base of the skull up. Most people will need to bring their pelvis back to find their full height, which will in turn straighten ribcage. The pelvis should be directly over the legs in such a way that the thigh and buttock muscles are not contracting. You know you’ve got it right when there is no buckling in the body when someone pushes slowly but forcefully down on the shoulders. I find I can actually feel the pressure going through the bones when this is done to me.

Do not underestimate the difficulty associated with fixing your posture once it goes awry. Lifting your heart or clavicles is a great place to start, and then I would go to a good dance teacher, as dance is very much about optimal posture. I would like to thank Deb for sending me to Rebecca, because it is making a world of difference to my triathlon training.

If you decide to undertake safe exercise for better health, including weight training to protect you from osteoporosis, FitOldDog recommends that you first take posture training, or you will be putting the load in all the wrong places.

-k @FitOldDog



  1. Terrific article, Kevin. I’ll probably be referencing the Trusted MD quotation in my next Feldenkrais e-newsletter, as I am teaching a workshop on improving posture in July: Embodying Effortless Upright Posture ( Thanks for pointing me in his direction. It saves me writing it!

    Indeed, your posture has improved dramatically over the last several years. It’s been fun to watch.

    I’m delighted to read how fruitful your work with Rebecca is being for your training — and that you have discovered your joy in dancing!

    I’d love to catch up with you. Lunch sometime? Let me know.

  2. Hi Karen, glad you liked it. Lunch would be good. Right now I’m in Maryland for the Eagleman Half IM, which is on Sunday. All the usual suspects coming in for the race. Guess I’m one of them, now. We’ll see how it goes, but I’m definitely in better shape than last year. It would be good to get together. I wonder if I could treat you and Tara and Rebecca and Deb out to lunch all together, as it would be interesting to compare notes, or would you all fight? -k

  3. Good Luck with your race, Kevin! I’m going to take some time to look into continuum. I’m almost positive that most of my pain comes from horrible posture, not to mention how unflattering it is on a short, stout person (think Quasimodo). We are finally starting to feel settled and would love to have you all over sometime soon when things calm down for everyone!

  4. Hi Becky, you seem to have an inaccurate picture of yourself, which does not fit my image of an interesting attractive woman one little bit. I think that our posture can be affected by negative self-images, from which I suffered for years. This caused me to make some really bad choices in my life. Don’t want to load you down with psychobabble, but you’re not short or stout, any more than I am short and ugly (thought that for much of my adult life, but boy, was I wrong – it turned out that I was within two standard deviations of the mean height = ‘normal’ and was actually attractive to many women -> wish I’d worked that out earlier). I think I’ll write a post on posture and self-esteem, what do you think? Look forward to seeing your new home.

  5. I would LOVE to read a post from you on posture and self-esteem. Thank you for the nice things you said about me. I’m lucky to have gotten to know you and to have continued to have Deborah as my friend. You both inspire me to take better care of my self in all kinds of ways. We have these BEAUTIFUL Eno trails that I can walk to from our house! Looking forward to having you over here soon. I’ll be in touch! Hug Deb for me, please!

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.