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We all want the perfect posture. It would be great to have a posture aid that once-and-for-all corrects our posture so that we achieve perfect postural alignment. Does such a posture aid exist? A Physical Therapist in Toronto recently contacted me and asked for posture aid recommendations for one her senior clients.

Can you recommend a weighted vest or posture aids for shoulders (specifically to assist with shoulder retraction and prevention of increasing kyphosis) for a 80 year old female author who spends significant time on the computer?

Her workstation is appropriately arranged and she does take frequent short stretching breaks but she is very aware of her posture and wants to maintain it. Look forward to hearing from you.

— WB, Toronto, Ontario

Natural Aids to Improve Posture

I am generally not a big fan of a posture aid or a brace for posture correction.  My preference is to educate people to achieve perfect posture or to work with them directly on posture alignment therapy through Physical Therapy postural restoration.

You should look at your client’s tissues.  She may be tight in the muscles and fascia. This could lead to forward rounding of her shoulder blades and cause her to be weak in the muscles that help her to sit tall and keep her shoulder blades back.  Incorporate stretches and strengthening exercises that address your client’s needs. Each of these techniques are the keys to perfect posture.

Posture Exercises and Stretch Breaks

Not all stretch breaks are equally as helpful.  Reverse shoulder shrugs should be encouraged over forward shoulder shrugs to help reposition the shoulder blades and open up the chest. 

In my yoga class, I encourage reverse shoulder shrugs as a warm up. I add a chest lift as you shrug and bring your arms away from your sides. Open your arms and hands as you squeeze your shoulder blades back.  Repeat as often as you need.

Another one of a number of exercises to improve posture for seniors (as well as everyone!) is the reverse fly exercise. In the blog, I demonstrate how to do this exercise as well as a modification for people unable to do the standard version.

Workstation Posture Adjustments

Glad to read that you have ensured her workstation is well adjusted.  I have gone into too many workplaces after an ergonomic evaluation and still had to make many workstation posture adjustments.

I worked for over five years in industry evaluating workstations and found three common problems that affected employees’ posture.  For readers who may not be as familiar with these problems, I have listed them off with solutions for each:

Computer monitor distance is too far and height is too low

Your monitor should be positioned to allow you to hold your head tall over your shoulders. The screen should be roughly 18-inches from your eyes with the top 1/3 of the screen being situated at a 15-degree angle from the horizon. Ensure that if you wear glasses, you get a pair dedicated for computer usage.  Laptop users should consider hooking up to a monitor.

Angle of the seat pan is flat or back

One feature in a good work chair is that you can achieve a forward tilt of the seat pan itself.  This allows you to come forward from your pelvis rather than your spine or shoulder blades or head and neck. 

If you are at home or cannot afford an adjustable chair, you can either sit on a folded blanket with the blanket being placed just under your “sit bones” to create a forward tilt of your pelvis.  Wedges or inflatable discs also create a similar tilt.  They are not as comfortable but, on the positive side, it encourage users to get up more often. Individuals with weak postural muscles that need to rely on back support will need a support in their low back (lumbar spine) to help them maintain alignment through the rest of their spine.

Mouse and keyboard position

In order to minimize stress on the upper back and neck and avoid the forward rounding of the shoulder blades, the mouse and keyboard should be positioned such that your elbows are by your side and angled between 80 and 110 degrees (close to a right angle).  This will also ensure that your wrists are in a fairly neutral position.

Posture Aid Options

If you and your client decide to go the route of a brace or a posture aid, I have included a few that I have tried.

Generally, unless your dealing with a healing fracture or a pain issue, the brace should only be used for a few minutes per day.

The aim of the brace or posture aid is to help you retrain your muscles and not take over for them. For example, findings from studies of black lifting belts showed that over time the belts actually weakened muscles and put the users at a bigger risk for injury and poor posture.

1. Posture Medic Posture Aid

I consider the Posture Medic posture aid to be an overpriced exercise band and not a good choice as a posture aid. I mention it because it is now found in Staples, Shoppers’ Drug Mart and other major retail outlets. Many feel the price is right but as the saying goes “you get what you pay for”.

In order to evaluate this product, I purchased one several years ago when they first came on the market (and sized according to recommendation on their charts). Despite being small breasted and relatively lean it pinched the tissue around my chest and made any activity uncomfortable.

The only client I had who liked this posture aid was tall and very thin. The padding over the rubber bands is not particularly comfortable and there is too much compression in the armpit region.

2. The Lumo Back Posture Aid

I have had mixed success with the Lumo Back posture aid. It seems to work best for individuals who slouch from their lumbar spine first.

They also offer another posture aid product — the Lumo Lift.  I have tried that too and have not found it to be very useful.

3. Stillness Buddy Posture Aid

If your patient gets lost in her work and needs a reminder to stretch and move around, I would recommend the Stillness Buddy. The app was developed to help us become aware of the present and take the time to enjoy that moment.

4. Weighted Kypho Orthosis Posture Aid

Lastly, if your client does not sit back in her chair then a weighted kypho-orthosis might do the trick. This device is discussed in my Working with Osteoporosis and Osteopenia continuing education course.

It has been used in studies looking to correct very stooped postures.  It is generally worn while up and walking around, it does help to counter act the forward weight of the head and shoulders by providing a counter weight of 0.25 – 2 pounds just below the shoulder blades.  In studies it was only worn for two 30-minute intervals per day.

If you want to read more on this topic, read my blog Orthotic Back Brace • Postural Kyphosis Brace.

The Downton Abbey Posture Aid

When it comes to posture, small changes throughout the day can lead to big gains. Be consistent.

Think of the characters in the popular television series Downton Abbey. When the characters are sitting and standing throughout the day, note how they maintain postural alignment. If you can get a butler and maids to do all the heavy lifting, you will be all set!

Posture Aid Suggestions

If there are posture aids you would like me to review, please leave a comment below. Thanks.

Perfect Posture

To learn more about Perfect Posture, visit my page dedicated to this topic.


January 3, 2017 at 6:21am


I know its a while since you wrote this but I recently learned about the Spinomed IV orthotic in a CEU class and I was wondering if you have experience with it and your thoughts about it.

May 31, 2017 at 8:55am

Lisa Adkins

Can you explain the Downton abbey reference? I don't watch the show and I wonder if I am missing anything in your explanation.

May 31, 2017 at 9:08am

Richard Martin replies

Hi Lisa:

Sorry, we should have been more explicit. Downton Abbey is a British historical period drama that was popular several years ago. It ran for several seasons on Netflix.

Maybe it was a product of the times, but most of the characters kept good posture (perhaps the absence of modern day devices like smartphones, computers, etc?). Take a look at the show and notice that none of the actors slouch when they stand or when they sit. Hope that helps.

May 31, 2017 at 4:30pm


There is a way to tie a yoga strap (you need a long one - 10') around the front shoulders and criss-crossed in the back that gently holds you in the shoulder-retracted posture. I think it's meant to be worn for a limited amount of hours (i.e., not all day every day) but does really help. See:

I have also put a "SIT UP STRAIGHT!" reminder on my computer's desktop using the Sticky Notes feature of Windows. (Looks just like a yellow sticky note except a computer version.)

July 4, 2017 at 9:36pm

Margaret Martin replies

Hi Sharon,
I like your "sit up straight" reminder more than I like Kathryn's yoga belt. A few minutes at a time or when sitting or standing quietly or in meditation would work well. In the article the photos A and D show how the belt impinges in the armpits. This is potentially problematic if you are doing any activities that require your arms to be in front of you. Your brachial plexus (the nerves that provide movement and sensation to your arms and hands are vulnerable to the pressures of the belt. So should you or others decide to use this approach please remove it if you start to feel any numbness, tingling or discomfort in your arms. Thanks for sharing.

August 11, 2020 at 5:10pm


Dear Margaret, Recently I discovered your wonderful site! Thank you! I am 65 years old and suffered 3 compression fractures (T12 L1&3) early 2019 and lost 2 inches in height by 2020! I have been going Tyler (pilates) physical therapy, walking with hiking poles, and doing basic stretches for my stenosis. I started lifting 2 and 3 lb. weights. I am looking for a weighted vest for building my back while walking. Also what is the best vest to use to do laundry (leaning over to take clothes out of washer and put in dryer) and for cooking. My back aches by early afternoon and I getting on a yoga mat or bed to stretch helps. I will explore your site further and I wish you were closer. Can you recommend anyone in La Canada, California 91011?

JoAnn Smith

January 6, 2021 at 1:24pm

Marian Kuper

Hello, Margaret. I'm so impressed with your comprehensive offerings (website, books, videos, newsletter, blog, online courses). Your approach may frustrate some folks who'd prefer quick answers to their questions but it really helps to drive home really important points, like how we all fit into categories based on fitness/activity level and fracture risk (because we need to completely understand our starting points before ever even starting to address our issues), and how the very most basic fundamentals are so important to absorb before we get into things like the exercises. Thanks for doing things this way. My question involves things like standing desks and so-called knee chairs. No need to answer quickly, as I'm just getting started with your program -- but I'm wondering about things like how to assess these devices from an ergonomic point of view.

January 6, 2021 at 1:43pm

Richard Martin replies

Hi Marian. Thank you for your comments. We cover a number (not all) of these questions in both our page dedicated to posture and our online course.

January 7, 2022 at 2:55pm

Ghaleb Abu arga

Is the open book exercise to increase the thoracic spine mobility bad for a woman in her sixties who suffers from osteoporosis in the lumbar vertebrae with score( -3.9) ?? , and if so, what are the safe exercises to improve mobility in thoracic spine ?