QUICK: Try to think of someone who has great posture. Most of us probably can't name more than two or three people. Poor posture leads to tired spines that are begging for relief.

Perfect posture says a lot about a person. Body language studies reveal that people who stand or sit up straight project authority and confidence. Try these exercises to improve your posture and your image.

Let's firm up the upper body, working on the most important muscles that promote good posture; pectorals (chest), deltoids (shoulders) and trapezius (upper back).


Keeping your upper torso flexible will help keep you from slouching. To increase flexibility in your arms, chest and shoulders, raise your arms up and back in full circles. Rotate them slowly and continuously 10 times. Another great upper-body stretcher is backstrokes. Pretend you're in the swimming pool doing the backstroke, and continue this motion for 10 times. Try to do both of these stretches every day.


Clasp your fingers behind your neck and press your elbows back as far as you can. Hold for 10 seconds. Keeping your fingers clasped, try to bring your elbows together in front of you. Repeat the sequence twice.


Although women's breast tissue is mostly fat, exercise can keep the underlying muscles strong and ward off droop, even with age. But weak chest muscles are not only a female problem. Sagging chest muscles contribute to bad posture in both sexes. So don't knuckle under to sags and droops. Fight gravity with this uplifting exercise. Men should also sport a healthy chest.

Bring your knuckles together in front of your chest, keeping your elbows straight out to your sides. Press together for 10 seconds. Feel the chest muscles working.


Lie on your stomach, clasp your hands behind your head and press your elbows back. Raise your head and upper chest slowly off the floor just a few inches. Keep your hips, legs, and feet on the floor. Squeeze your buttock muscles. Hold for 10 seconds. Relax. Repeat.

Sit up. Stand tall. And keep it up.