Texting and Exercise...Emailing all day and then lifting weights...Huddling over your phone and then going for a run. How are these all connected?
In the image to the right, the woman texting is holding herself in a balanced, relaxed way. She has excellent posture without being stiff. She's sitting, holding, and looking at her phone in a manner that is balanced and efficient. She's not sinking toward the phone nor is she lifting her shoulders to bring it nearer to her eyes.
Notice how you hold your phone. Can you tip your chin gently toward your chest and let your head rotate forward rather than poking your chin out and letting your head drop? Also, try lifting your phone more with your hand than with your shoulder (ie don't lift your shoulder to raise your phone.)
How about putting a reminder photo or message to yourself on your screen saver or wall paper to cue yourself to be conscious of how you're holding your body while using your phone?
If you spend a lot of your day sticking your chin out with your head bend down looking at your phone, you'll be fueling and reinforcing habits that can cause a lot of compression in your spine. Your head probably weighs about 10-12 pounds, so if you are doing this, it's like pressing a bowling ball down on your spine all day and this sort of habit affects the whole body down to the legs and feet.
So, if you are reinforcing a downward pressure of the head into the neck, which then pushes the upper back down into the lower back, you are very likely doing the same thing if you lift weights, adding even more downward pressure in this more demanding activity.
If you practice lifting your phone without dropping your head down and without hiking your shoulder up, you'll be preparing for your workout all day. Seems that you might get more out of it and be less likely to injure yourself.
The woman in the photo above is lifting weights without overusing her neck or lifting her shoulders. Her torso remains steady, but not stiff as she lifts.
Walking and Running:
If you are compressed from the top down from your texing habits, you'll likely be using a lot of extra effort to move forward. You may be pushing your chin forward and lifting your shoulders or chest. When we walk and run efficiently, the upper body aims upward, freeing up to top of the head (instead of pressing down) to allow the power to move to come from your hips and glutes. If you are pressed down, you prevent the hips and glutes from engaging properly. This is the case with both walking and running.
In the photo to the right, notice that the woman in front isn't sticking out her chin or chest or tightening her neck in order to move forward. Her upper body stays balanced and upright, but not stiff. Her legs stay under her and she doesn't do what's called "over-striding". When we over-stride, we are out of balance and have to compensate for pressure that we are sending back and down. Try poking your chin forward and lifting your chest when standing. You'll probably find that you lean back. Over-striding, when walking or running, means that we reach ahead with the feet, often to compensate for the upper body leaning back.
If you just let your head tip forward and your chin to gently move toward your chest when you use your phone when you are standing, you can avoid leaning back.
Start your warm-up while you text! Put that reminder on your screen saver! Let me know how you do in the comments below.
I'll be offering a workshop called "Mind Your Gadgets" twice in October (on the 15th and 22nd). Click here to find out more and to sign up.
Contact me to find out about my Alexander Technique running lessons that I offer and how I can help you improve any type of work-out by helping you to change your postural habits.