I don’t know about you, but growing up my mother was constantly telling me to “sit up straight,” or “stand up straight!” Being a kid, I just assumed she thought I was purposely showing I didn’t care and was being lazy. I mean why else was she always on me? (That’s a rhetorical question! LOL.)
Granted, maybe we did not, nor our mothers, know at the time why having good posture was important, especially if we weren’t entering beauty pageants or impressing others with our great physique. But, it turns out she actually might have had our backs on this one!
We’ve all heard it by now—sitting is the new smoking. However, there is more to it than just being sedentary and out of shape leading to unwanted health problems. In reality, something more is happening here.
Enter Today’s Technology
In today’s tech society, we spend countless hours staring down at our cell phones and peering forward at our computers. We sit hunched over in cafes or walk through crowds with our heads down, oblivious to the heavy weight that puts on our neck and shoulders. With time and age, we get more and more slumped over, developing what I like to call bird neck (head and neck extended forward like we are pecking at someone’s hand).
You probably thought that was simply age, right!?
Why Is This Bad…Besides the Way It Looks?
Our bodies adapt to the position(s) we constantly put it in. This causes some muscles to be overactive and others underactive. Because of this, we can more easily injure muscles that are weak (underactive), and feel tightness in other muscles (the overactive ones). In the case we are talking about here, with time we begin experiencing pain in our neck, back, and shoulders.
Okay, So What Do I Do with This Information?
Besides taking more frequent breaks from staring at that computer and down at the cell phone, here are some simple exercises you can do to combat that rounded back and/or forward head (remember the bird neck).
· Bent over Rows to strengthen the back. Yes, I said bent – but not in the slouched over sense! Rather bent slightly forward from the hip.
· Chest Stretch to loosen tight pectoral muscles pulling inward.
· Head Retraction (keeping head level, tuck your chin which will draw head directly backwards). You might not like the look of wrinkling under the chin, but that says you’re doing it right!
So, next time you find yourself scrolling too long through Facebook, or working too long at the computer, take a few minutes to get up and stretch out the chest and neck. And add those back rows to your exercise routine (watching your head position). You’ll make your mother, and your body, proud!