How to Manage or Avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

How to Manage or Avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

by Nick A. Titley, M.S., NPI-Certified Posture Specialist

If you spend large amounts of your time on a computer or mobile device then you most certainly need to understand carpal tunnel syndrome and how it develops. Are you ignoring a stubborn tingling or numb pain in your wrists? You may already have symptoms and not realize it. This article is for everyone as anyone can develop the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome and not realize it.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIH) website says that carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) occurs when the median nerve, a nerve that runs from the forearm into the palm, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. This median nerve controls sensations in the palm side of the thumb and fingers, and is also responsible for sending impulses to some of the small muscles in the hand that allow it to move.

NIH also explains that the carpal tunnel—a narrow, rigid passageway of ligament and bones at the base of your hand—houses the median nerve and tendons. Swelling or thickening from irritated tendons causes the tunnel to narrow and compresses your median nerve. The results are painful; You may also suffer weakness or numbness in your hand and wrist that radiates up the arm. If this pain becomes persistent, you may already have carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) starts gradually and is known for intermittent numbness and tingling in your thumb, index and middle fingers. Women are three times more likely than men to develop CTS, because the carpal tunnel may be smaller in women. The dominant hand is usually affected first and produces the most severe pain. The Mayo Clinic website says that you may experience numbness while performing various activities of daily living and you may also drop things due to weakness in your thumb’s pinching muscles.

The National Health Service (NHS) website lists a number of factors that contribute to CTS’s development. A family history of CTS, pregnancy, wrist injuries, health problems like diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, and strenuous, repetitive work can cause this issue to develop. If CTS becomes severe, you may need surgery to sever the band of tissue around the wrist to reduce pressure on the median nerve.

When you hear carpal tunnel syndrome, most people think of desk jobs, however CTS is not confined to just manufacturing, assembly line or office work; if you engage your wrists daily (e.g. typing, drawing, writing, hairdressing) then you could develop it. You can also develop CTS if you have poor wrist alignment and use improper form while exercising. While a number of factors contribute to this problem it only affects adults and it’s an overuse injury that can be treated.

Take a moment to consider all that you’ve read thus far; please understand that CTS can be treated and in most cases avoided, do not allow this to become a part of your life. Start taking breaks during your job. Stretch your wrists often and allow your arms to sit comfortably in neutral position whenever possible, i.e. arms at your sides with your palms facing inward or toward the body in a relaxed position.

Be aware that weak wrist flexors and extensors contribute toward CTS. Strengthen your wrists by performing exercises and, once again, ensure you stretch them frequently. You need to pay attention to your wrists while engaging in your activities of daily living. Look at the way you use your wrists while driving and performing exercises. Your wrists should be relaxed and not constantly flexed or tensed, and if at all possible kept in neutral position i.e. palms facing toward the body.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is an overuse injury that causes pain, numbness and tingling in the wrist. It can become so severe that you need surgery. CTS can be avoided by proper wrist alignment, exercise and stretching, and by paying closer attention to the way you perform your daily activities. Try to reduce repetitive motions and employ proper care techniques.


  • “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Fact Sheet.” Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Fact Sheet. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 17 Apr. 2015. Web. 22 Oct. 2015.
  • “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 2 Apr. 2014. Web. 22 Oct. 2015.
  • “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome .” Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. National Health Service, 18 Sept. 2014. Web. 22 Oct. 2015.

Flexibility: How it Impacts More than Your Muscles

Flexibility: How it Impacts More than Your Muscles

by Nick A. Titley, M.S., NPI-Certified Posture Specialist

Whether you attend the gym or sit in the office daily; you probably have tight muscles and may know little about flexibility. Do you experience neck or back pain? Do you feel aches and tightness when moving your arms and legs? Many people are unable to perform simple movements and thousands are suffering from back and neck pain. Please keep reading; your flexibility is more important than you realize.

In the Foundations of Strength Training and Conditioning book, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) defines flexibility as a joint’s ability to move through its full range of motion (ROM). Enhanced joint flexibility can reduce the risk of injuries, improve your muscle balance and function, increase performance, improve posture and reduce the incidence of lower back pain.

According to the Human Kinetics website, a fitness and human movement organization, flexibility is necessary to perform your daily activities; getting out of bed, lifting objects and sweeping the floor require some level of flexibility, but unfortunately it deteriorates with age. Over time you create body movements and postural habits that can lead to reduced ROM in your joints, but staying active and stretching regularly can help prevent the loss of mobility. Being flexible significantly reduces the chance of experiencing occasional and chronic back pain.

Poor flexibility means more difficulty when performing your daily activities and can cause joint stiffness, muscle tightness, lower back pain and other postural, and health related problems. A study posted in the American Journal of Physiology has associated poor flexibility with arterial stiffening. Arterial stiffening is called arteriosclerosis and it influences how hard your heart has to work to pump blood through your body. Myocardial infarction (heart attack) and stroke are both a direct consequence of atherosclerosis.

Flexibility training can help you maintain appropriate muscle length. According to the ACSM, muscle shortening can take place over time and flexibility training helps improve muscle balance. If you’re sitting for long periods daily then you may have tight and shortened hamstring and hip flexor muscles that could be causing you lower back pain. Flexibility training helps improve muscular weaknesses and is thought to reduce the risk of injury. It can also improve your posture and your ability to move, relieve stress and reduce the risk of low-back pain.

ACSM suggests the best method for improving flexibility is to perform activities in their full ROM and to engage in a safe stretching program. It’s ill-advised to stretch when you haven’t warmed up, so stretching after your body is warmed up or at the end of a workout is ideal. A simple warm-up could consist of running in place for a few minutes, or by performing some other low level activities that increase your body temperature.

According to Full-Body Flexibility, the book explains how static and dynamic stretches are the most common techniques you can use to improve your flexibility. For static stretching, you merely stretch your muscles by holding the position for 10-30 seconds. Stretching should be done carefully, and with proper technique and breathing; never force yourself into positions or hurry through your routine. Take your time.

Dynamic stretching is another form where you mimic the patterns and movements of the exercise or sport you’re about to perform. If you’re about to play a sport or lift weights you would perform the activities with low resistance first to get your body ready for the real work.

Static stretching and dynamic stretching are your safest options. You can perform stretches alone or have a trained partner take you through the movements. I suggest you stretch your entire body, but pay special attention to your tighter muscles; for many of you this means your hamstrings, hip flexors, rear, lower back, wrists, shoulders, rotator cuffs and neck.

Flexibility means moving a joint through its full ROM and improving flexibility is also strongly associated with managing back pain. Warm up before you stretch and try using dynamic and static stretching techniques. Flexibility means balance; poor flexibility could result in loss of basic function and could lead to health and posture related problems.


  • Ratamess, Nicholas A. “Warm up and Flexibility.” ACSM’s Foundations of Strength Training and Conditioning. Michigan: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2012. Print.
  • Yamamoto, K., Kawano, H., & Gando, Y. (2009). Poor trunk flexibility is associated with arterial stiffening.American Journal of Physiology, 297(4).  doi:10.1152/ajpheart.00061.2009. Epub 2009 Aug 7.
  • “The Importance and Purpose of Flexibility.” Human-kinetics. Can-Fit-Pro. Web. 31 Aug. 2015.
  • Blahnik, Jay. “Stretching Basics.” Full-Body Flexibility. 2nd ed. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication. 2011. Print.

Overtraining: Are You Exercising Too Much?

Overtraining: Are You Exercising Too Much?

by Nick A. Titley, M.S., NPI-Certified Posture Specialist

Our exercise goals are important to us. We strive and struggle through so much to reach our markers. Many believe that no pain no gain is the answer and the more you train the better your results. The problem with this belief is that you could be putting your body through more stress than needed and you run the risk of sickness and overuse injury.

Are you overtraining? How would you know if you’re overtraining and just exactly what is it? In an article by University of Maryland Medical Center (UMM), overtraining is described as burnout, staleness, a term used by professionals to describe fitness enthusiasts and athletes who suffer impaired performance and increased fatigue due to excessive training routines

 Overtraining is often confused for overreaching; according to Overtraining Syndrome: A Practical Guide, overreaching refers to an accumulation of training loads that lead to performance decrements that require days to weeks for recovery. Overreaching is sudden, it can be as simple as drastically increasing your workout load and feeling exhausted to the point where you need to take some serious down time.

Overreaching followed by rest can be positive, but when it’s extreme and combined with additional stressors then Overtraining syndrome (OTS) can occur. OTS usually occurs as a result of rigorous training schedules that dramatically or suddenly increase, lasts for sustained periods of time and are performed at high volumes or high intensities without a sufficient recovery period.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), one of the best ways to avoid overtraining is to pay attention to your exercise program. Excessive volume or intensity may produce less than optimal results and could impair your performance. If physical performance continues to suffer for extended periods of time and you require long recovery periods then overtraining has occurred.

While increasing exercise intensity and volume are positive for your development, ACSM stresses that you adhere to a proper exercise program that provides sufficient volume and intensity i.e. following a workout program that meets your needs, but allows for recovery time and respects your current fitness level. While there are phases within your training program where you may experience short-term performance decrements these can be overcome with several days of decreased exercise stress.

You know you’re overtraining when you can’t seem to perform right, you’re excessively tired, you need longer periods of recovery between workout routines and just don’t feel like exercising. Overtraining syndrome comes with the risk of injury and illness and ACSM says that overtraining has other physiological effects also. Altered resting heart rate, blood pressure and respiration patterns, decreased body fat and post-exercise body weight, chronic fatigue, menstrual disruptions, headaches, muscle soreness and damage, joints aches and pains, and gastrointestinal distress are a few of the effects listed.

While overtraining syndrome is the extreme, many overreach and burn out after going for weeks without proper recovery. There are many exercise programs that have risen to fame because they boast about the fat blasting effects of their workout, but many of the people who need to lose the weight and get into shape can’t aptly perform these programs. Some avid exercisers have also found these programs to be too much and after a few days fall off the program. I watched a personal trainer put his clients through a popular routine and it was cringeworthy watching their body language after barely making it through a routine that wasn’t designed for their fitness level. Some of those clients no longer work with that trainer.

Overtraining yourself is a real dilemma; you’re exposed to so many stimuli and made to believe that harder, faster, heavier are better at the expense of proper nutritional habits, proper alignment and body mechanics and adequate rest time. The results of this are usually suboptimal; if you’re not careful you could become sick and/or injured. Please consult a professional about designing a workout program that fits your needs and pay close attention to the way you’re feeling during and after a workout. You don’t have to train seven days a week to see results and despite what popular voices may say you must ultimately follow a program that suits your specific needs.


  • Kinucan, Paige, and Kravitz. “Overtraining: Undermining Success.”Overtraining: Undermining Success. University of Maryland Medical Center. Web. 28 July 2015.
  • C. Fry Ph.D., Andrew. “Overtraining with Resistance Exercise.” Current Comments. American College of Sports Medicine. Web. 28 July 2015.
  • Kreher, Jeffrey B., and Jennifer B. Schwartz. “Overtraining Syndrome: A Practical Guide.” Sports Health 4.2 (2012): 128–138. PMC. Web. 27 July 2015.

That gift is calling


How long has it been? I swear you probably thought I died or crawled under some rock to hide. Being open, I don’t even know where I’ve been, but right now I’m here and in this moment. I guess sometimes we need to take a hiatus from the things we enjoy in order to enjoy them. Makes sense? The next time you walk away from something you enjoy. Allow yourself to do it, if you come back, great! If not, that’s fine.

So, why now? Because my gift if my message, my life, my experiences and someone needs to hear them to know that things will be alright.

I’m so happy to have spoken to my friend Leslie. We worked at the gym together. I knew she’d been doing some work as a life coach so I wanted to have that “from then to now” type conversation. It was great. I can’t believe  how great I feel after speaking to her. Sometimes you just need to listen to someone else’s story to learn how to experience yours. After feeling inundated by the stressors in my life (and trust me, yesterday it felt like a week’s worth of stress packed in one) I can openly say how great I feel after today’s conversation. I feel a freeing sensation, as if whatever was on my chest has lifted and my entire body was given permission to relax and feel worthy. My smile fits my face in way it hasn’t, and I’m glad because I’m going to be doing that a lot more lately. Thanks, Leslie!

Not to shamefully advertise, but she’s really cool and knows what she’s doing. If you’re feeling that inner turmoil, that tense feeling you can’t shake that a cup of tea or coffee can’t cure, then maybe it’s time to have a conversation that will penetrate the surface and instill itself into your psyche.

Thanks for reading! Sorry if I scared you, I merely stepped out, I didn’t step down.


p.s. you can find Leslie here, her website is beautiful.

How Your Nutritional Habits Affect Your Posture

Hey everyone,

Here’s this month’s article. Ever wondered how your diet is affecting your posture? I explore the relation in this month’s article.

How Your Nutritional Habits Affect Your Posture

by Nick A. Titley, M.S., NPI-Certified Posture Specialist

Have you ever thought that your eating habits are affecting your posture and body alignment? You probably know that age, height, fatigue and occupation affect your postural alignment. There are so many other factors that impact your posture, but what about nutrition? In this article, you’ll learn how and why your nutritional choices could be leading to postural misalignment.

To learn more, I consulted Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator and Certified Nutrition Support Dietitian, Melissa Halas-Liang, M.S. to discuss the subject. “The right diet helps avoid excessive weight,” was her opening statement. She continued, “The more weight you’re carrying is more detrimental to your posture.” Melissa explains that your lumbar curve maintains your upright posture and supports the weight of your body.

Excess weight places stress on your bones, muscles and joints and can cause an unnatural curvature of the spine. “Extra weight in the stomach pulls the pelvis forward and strains the lower back, creating lower back pain.” You read that correctly, your diet might be affecting your lower back, but it’s not just weight gain that’s affecting your posture, your nutrient intake and eating practices during meal times are also creating an issue.

Vitamin D and calcium are crucial for bone health and posture. In addition to maintaining a healthy weight, Melissa urges that you get enough vitamin D and calcium in your diet. “Vitamin D plays a major role in calcium absorption, bone health, muscle performance, balance and risk of falling,” she says. Sun exposure is also an important source of vitamin D, but you also need to ensure you’re receiving enough from your diet. While calcium can be found in dairy products, fortified foods and dark green leafy vegetables, vitamin D can be found in fortified milks and cereals, egg yolk, salt-water fish and liver. UV-treated mushrooms are a good plant source.Not convinced? Have you heard of kyphosis? It’s an exaggerated forward rounding of the back and while it has several possible origins one cause of kyphosis is when osteoporosis weakens and compresses the spinal bones. “Among the lifestyle factors that increase osteoporosis risk are low calcium intake and vitamin D insufficiency,” says Melissa.

Older adults are at higher risk for vitamin D deficiency; anyone who has limited sun exposure or kidney issues also needs to be aware of this information. Please consult your physician if you’re unsure whether you’re not receiving adequate calcium and vitamin D in your diet. Do not take supplements until you ascertain this information.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation’s (NOF) website explains that excessive alcohol, caffeine, coffee and soft drink intake is detrimental to bone health because they interfere with calcium absorption and could contribute to bone loss. For you soft drink lovers, not every soft drink is bad for you. The NOF explains that colas, but not most other soft drinks, are associated with bone loss. “The carbonation in soft drinks does not cause any harm to bones. The caffeine and phosphorous commonly found in colas may contribute to bone loss. Like calcium, phosphorous is a part of the bones. It is listed as an ingredient in colas, some other soft drinks and processed foods as ‘phosphate’ or ‘phosphoric acid’.” By getting enough calcium to meet your body’s needs, you can make up for the loss.

So what about meal times? It often feels like the bulk of our problems originate from our habits around food and our meal times, but how does posture come into play? Melissa explains that eating while watching TV or on the computer means that people are usually slouched on their couch or slumped over their screens; neither are correct sitting positions for good posture and body alignment.

Additionally, you may be eating more calories while using social media and when enjoying some form of entertainment; this will lead to excess weight gain that could impact your postural alignment. Melissa blames late night, mindless eating of fatty, salty and sugary foods. You need to eat at a table, sit up with your back straight and your shoulders back without distractions (Implement NPI’s Four Points of Posture™); prevent mindless eating by becoming more mindful of your eating habits and food choices.

Your nutritional habits during meal times and your food choices affect your posture and body alignment. Ensure you’re receiving enough calcium and vitamin D and please consult a physician before taking supplements. Remember, be aware of your posture while eating and avoid eating mindlessly, you’ll look more confident and save yourself excess weight gain.


  • Halas-Liang, Melissa Personal interview. 11 February 2015.
  • “Food and Your Bones.” Food and Your Bones. National Osteoporosis Foundation. Web. 10 Apr. 2015. <>.

To see the article and other articles from our website, see the link here

Know your risk

Hey everyone, here’s another short, but great read for all the fitness and non-fitness pros. This month I covered an article relating to risk stratification. It’s published on the National Posture Institute’s website, but I wanted to post it below as well for easy access. Still, check out their resources and Facebook page, they have tons of certifications, CEC/CEU opportunities and educational material to help health/medical and fitness professionals.

Without further ado:

Health Screening: What You Should Do When Starting a New Exercise Program

by Nick A. Titley, M.S., NPI-Certified Posture Specialist

All of my new clients must perform a health screening process. As a personal trainer and NPI-Certified Posture Specialist™ it’s important that I perform some form of assessment and risk stratification to ensure that my clients are able to meet the demands of the new regimen. Sometimes, clients aren’t able to dive into a new routine because they are considered “high risk” due to a health related issue. In this article, you’ll learn more about the health forms and criteria that can determine your risk levels and what you need to do if you’re considered “high risk”.

If this is the first time you’re reading about health screening or assessments then this is the perfect opportunity for you to learn more. Every personal trainer and health/medical professional should take you through an assessment process. The American College of Sports Medicine website states that fitness assessments will help in the development of individualized training programs and can be used to check for heart disease and other chronic diseases.

 Assessments include Medical History forms, a Physical Activities Readiness Questionnaire (PAR-Q), a Cardiovascular Risk Factor form, Informed Consent and a Physician Clearance form. A PAR-Q will determine your readiness to exercise. A medical form will ask for detailed information like blood pressure, obesity, cholesterol levels, heart disease and stroke. It may also ask what medications you’re currently taking.

If you’ve never taken any of these assessments and you’re working with a trainer I suggest you ask them to conduct assessments because they don’t have a solid idea of who you are and run the risk of putting your health in danger.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has created a risk stratification form that allows the professional to determine whether you’re low, medium or high risk and in need of modifications or further medical evaluation before beginning your new program.

The ACSM form examines age, family history, cigarette smoking, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, hypertension, diabetes and dyslipidemia (related to cholesterol levels) as criteria for assessing your risk level. In ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing & Prescription if you have symptoms of cardiovascular disease (CVD), or you’ve been diagnosed with a known cardiovascular, pulmonary or metabolic disease then you’re considered “high risk” and require a physician’s approval before starting an exercise program.

If there are no symptoms of CVD or a diagnosed disease, but you have less than two risk factors then you’re considered “low risk”. If you have two or more risk factors then you’re considered “medium risk”. If you fall into the low or medium risk areas then you don’t require a physician’s approval, but it’s always advised that you still see a health professional if you’re unsure about your wellbeing.

Confused about your risk? Here’s an example: If you’re currently a smoker, obese, live a sedentary lifestyle and may have hypertension and be pre-diabetic, you’re considered “medium risk”. If you have only one symptom—sedentary lifestyle or you’re a cigarette smoker— then you’re considered “low risk”. However, if you have heart disease, chest pain, known heart murmur or other signs or symptoms suggestive of a disease then you’re considered “high risk” and need to see a doctor before committing to a program.

If you’re starting a new exercise program I highly suggest you urge your professional to conduct a health screening process to find out more about your medical, fitness and health information as it will give you both a better sense of how your needs can be met while avoiding a problem. Safety is your best bet and knowing your health status is applying that principle.

Personal trainers and health professionals need to conduct a health screening process before starting a new program. If you have a known disease like CVD, or show signs and symptoms of a major problem then you’re considered “high risk” and need physician clearance. If these symptoms and diseases are absent then you could be low or medium risk. It’s advised that you still consult a doctor if you’re starting a new program or you’re unsure about your medical history.



  • Percia, Matthew, Davis Shala PhD, and Gregory R Dwye. “Getting a Professional Fitness Assessment.” ACSM | Articles. ACSM, 10 Jan. 2012. Web. 12 Mar. 2015. .
  • Thompson, Walter R. ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2010. Print.

National Posture Institute’s 2015 State of Industry Survey

Hi everyone,

I had the privilege of working on the National Posture Institute’s 2015 State of the Industry survey. For all the fit professionals who want to see the review, I’ve posted the link and the information below.

National Posture Institute (NPI) Survey Report

2015 State of the Industry Survey:  Posture, Health, and Fitness Report

The National Posture Institute (NPI) believes that posture, exercise performance, injury prevention, and education surrounding body alignment and exercise selection are important areas of concern for fitness and allied-health/medical professionals. NPI created its 2015 State of the Industry Survey to determine whether professionals were prepared to work with clients on posture correction/exercises and to review the current state of the industry and upcoming trends. This report will review NPI’s State of the Industry’s 2015 Survey results.

NPI surveyed personal trainers, physical therapists, physiotherapists, group exercise instructors, athletic/sports performance specialists, P.E. teachers, chiropractors and other allied-health, medical and fitness based professionals for this study. The majority of our respondents work as personal trainers/exercise professionals in settings such as health clubs/fitness facilities, home-based training, private practice training, corporate offices/fitness centers and college/universities. An additional group of respondents work as physical therapists, chiropractors, ergonomic specialists, athletic trainers and other allied health/medical professional in hospitals, medically-based fitness sites, sports performance sites and private clinics.

Respondents indicated that they work with a diverse client age group from young children (29%) to (80+) older adults (51%). Respondents stated their client base includes children/adolescents, stay at home moms/dads, corporate executives, office workers, athletes, academics, retirees and health/medical professionals.

As indicated on the survey, clients/patients “sometimes” inquire about posture and body alignment and 78% of professionals are actively educating them on the subject. Professionals also indicated that they generally conduct assessments on their clients. When asked about conducting posture assessments, 75% say they conduct posture assessments on a regular basis. Balance/agility skills, muscular strength and endurance assessments are also predominantly being used by professionals. When asked about corrective exercise programs, 53% say they use them. However, when asked whether corrective exercises for posture related injuries are being administered the responses were almost tied.

The survey shows that 69% of respondents have received training on how to conduct and create programs that focus on posture and body alignment. While some received little training from personal training organizations, others note that they learned some information about posture through books and/or magazine articles. The majority of respondents received educational training from the National Posture Institute (NPI); It was listed as the primary organization to learn about posture education, assessments and exercise movements.

Professionals indicated that they prefer using free weights, suspension and body weight training as opposed to commercial strength training/circuit training equipment when working with their clients/patients. The most popular exercises mentioned were: squats, lunges, step-ups, bicep and triceps curls, back rows, push-up variations, frontal/lateral raises and planks. It should come as no surprise then that exercise tubing, stability balls, body weight exercises and free weights/dumbbells took top spots when asked about the modalities being used while training.

Professionals believe that the most prevalent postural deviations seen in their clients are “forward head posture,” “rounded shoulders,” and “muscular imbalances”. They also indicated that the most common injury sites are the “lower back,” “rotator cuff,” and the “knees”. Respondents believe that the programs that could most likely cause an injury are power lifting, heavy lifting, Olympic style lifting, Crossfit and plyometrics.


The results show that fitness, health and allied-health/medical professionals are becoming more aware of posture, body alignment and exercise selection. They are actively developing programs for their clients/patients with posture and body alignment in mind. Professionals are predominantly working with clients/patients that range from ages as young as 5 (five) to 80+ years old. Respondents stated their client base includes children/adolescents, stay at home moms/dads, corporate executives, office workers, athletes, academics and health/medical professionals.

Professionals are conducting fitness and posture assessments; many of the respondents have learned to perform postural assessments and corrective exercises from the National Posture Institute. Clients/patients “sometimes” inquire about posture, but professionals that responded to this survey are actively educating them on the subject.

Fitness, health and medical professionals must continue to learn about posture and body alignment. As professionals, being aware of these areas allow for greater vigilance when selecting programs, methods and exercises for clients/patients. Professionals must continue taking the initiative and actively discussing the subject of posture with their clients/patients. Though their current responsibilities are great, professionals must not overlook the negative effects of poor posture and body alignment. Lastly, professionals must take an active role in becoming strong role models that can educate the public about proper posture, alignment and exercise performance. (For more information on posture, certifications related to fitness/nutrition/posture and more, check out the rest of their website.)

Why sitting for too long is killing you

Well, by now you’ve heard of this…right? If not, this brief video is a must watch on the reasons why sitting too much is a killer.


Accountability: Even the Fitness Industry Needs It

Hi everyone, hope your 2015 is turning out well. If not, hang in there and work for what you need to happen. Here’s a good one for you. How do you when the fitness pro is performing the technique correctly? Generally, you won’t. So even the fitness industry and its professionals need to be held accountable. I discuss this in my first article this year, published on the National Posture Institute website here, but you can read it below also:

Accountability: Even the Fitness Industry Needs It

by Nick A. Titley, M.S., NPI-Certified Posture Specialist

It’s the start of a new year and many of the old year’s habits need to be left behind. How do you know when a fitness professional is performing an exercise in good form and body alignment? You don’t; If you’re not exercise savvy then the likelihood of being misled is high. Fitness organizations and professionals need to be more aware of form and body alignment when posting exercises.

Last year, after opening a monthly newsletter from a major fitness organization I noticed the model’s posture and body alignment was off. Her head and neck were lurching forward as she sat up, frozen in place. The fitness model from the newsletter was trying to work her abdominals while simultaneously putting her neck and spine at risk. It wasn’t the first time I saw something like this; I’ve seen professionals performing techniques with improper form and body alignment. It’s time that organizations and professionals in the fitness industry take account for these problems. The public will emulate these techniques.

According to an article by Nikitow Chiropractic, one of the most common posture problems is forward head posture (FHP). Repetitive computer, TV, video game, phone and backpack usage, alongside poor exercise form can force our bodies to adopt this problem. Repetitively lurching the head and neck forward can strengthen nerve and muscle pathways to move that way more readily. In short, repetition of forward head movements combined with poor ergonomic postures can lead to FHP. Was the professional, and the organization, aware of FHP when they posted that image?

Incorrect Correct

Dimitri Onyskow and I spoke about the problem. As the Educational Fitness Solution’s Director of Academic Relations, he deals with these issues: “I think most organizations do not want to acknowledge the fact that they have been promoting poor technique,” he says, “If they did, they would be admitting they were wrong. Instead, they choose to ignore it in hopes that no one else will notice.”

Dimitri says that the problem exists in major fitness organizations that offer corrective exercise programs: “What most don’t understand is if a client is doing a ‘corrective exercise’ movement in poor alignment, all they are doing is adding strength to an already imbalanced frame. And this will lead to injury down the road. It is imperative that proper technique is taught throughout.”

Michele, a fitness club manager, also had a similar experience and shared her utter distaste for some major fitness brands. She says that people are quick to follow these teachings even if they are dangerous. She believes that one of the major problems with these brands is the bad form of their followers: “They often have people doing pointless motions with incorrect form and at ridiculous weights.”

Michele believes that many of the people following routines from these brands have no clue what they’re doing and they think their form is correct. Many are closer to a hospital visit than achieving their results and refuse help when approached about their form.

So can you tell when you’re being misled? It’s difficult to tell, so sometimes you need to seek a second opinion. Keep in mind that every trainer and fitness organization isn’t trying to mislead you, but even the experts get it wrong sometimes. If you’re unsure about a technique, don’t feel it working, or you’re concerned about the danger level then by all means ask questions. Always ask questions, research the topic and pay attention to who is providing the advice.

Good form and proper body alignment should be the goal of every exercise. Organizations and professionals in the fitness industry need to be aware of their form and body alignment while performing exercises. The public won’t know the difference between right and wrong. It’s up to the fitness industry to teach the public the correct methods and to be accountable for their actions.


  • Nikitow, D. (2014). Damaging effects of forward head posture. Retrieved from denvertechchiro/files/fhp_revised.pdf
  • Michele. Personal interview. 7 January 2015
  • Onyskow, Dimitri. Personal Interview. 6 January 2015

Happy New Year!

Wishing you all a fantastic 2015! May you continue to rise and grind through the good and the bad. Take with you all that you’ve learned from 2014 and make it into something beautiful in 2015. All the best!