Fix Your Text Neck These 6 Yoga Exercises

How many hours do you spend bending over your smartphone, laptop or tablet? According to latest research, ‘tech neck’ is now one of the top tech-related ailments (along with gamer’s thumb and smart-phone elbow). Constantly hunching over a laptop or craning your neck forward while you scroll through Instagram on your phone for prolonged periods creates a massive strain on your spine, causing everything from tight shoulders, neck pain and headaches to more serious, long-term damage. ‘An adult’s head weighs on average 4.5-5kg.

That’s between three to four bags of flour – try holding those in your outstretched hand and see how long it is before your arm begins to ache!’ says Harriet Griffey, author of Sit Strong – Everyday Exercises to Stretch and Strengthen Your Posture (Hardie Grant, £10). Tilt your head forwards as we do when we look down to type, text or scroll, and the pressure on your neck increases dramatically. ‘If you extend the head forwards to 30º, the force increases to 18kg. Extend by 45º and this increases to 22kg; and if you crane your neck to 60º it’s 27kg,’ says Griffey. ‘Unless you’re vigilant, and check your posture, this causes enormous strain on the muscles, tendons and ligaments in your neck, and also puts extra pressure on the vertebrae that these are trying to support.’

Fix Your Text Neck These 6 Yoga Exercises Photo Gallery



A PAIN IN THE NECK

All of this strain can cause chronic pain, not just in your neck, but also in your shoulders and upper back, as they work to compensate. Headaches and even migraines can occur due to the muscular strain. The solution? Aside from making an effort to improve your posture and spend less time using tech, simple exercises can help limit the damage. ‘Gently exercising your neck not only relieves strain, tension and stiffness around the vertebral joints, it will also help to strengthen the muscles of the neck,’ says Griffey. ‘Stronger neck muscles are more able to keep your head upright and supported in a good position, which relieves pressure on the tendons and ligaments of your neck, reducing strain and the tired, achy pain that can arise.’ No time for that digital detox? Then work these exercises into your daily routine.

SIMPLE NECK STRETCH

◗ Sit upright in your chair, with your legs uncrossed, knees hip-width apart and feet flat on the floor. ◗ Relax your shoulders and rest your hands in your lap. ◗ Look ahead, with your chin tucked in, so that the back of your head is in line with your back. ◗ Keeping your gaze level and your chest facing forwards, turn your head to the right, until you feel the stretch in the opposite side of your neck. Don’t over-extend or force your head round. Keep your shoulders relaxed. Breathe gently as you hold the stretch for a count of five. ◗ Return your head to the centre. Pause to check your posture. Repeat on the other side. Repeat three times.

EXTENDED NECK STRETCH

◗ This time, when you’ve turned your head to the right, instead of holding the stretch in this position, look down to your right shoulder and hold for a count of five. ◗ Return your head to the centre position and repeat on the left side. ◗ Repeat this sequence three times.

SITTING RESISTANCE EXERCISE

◗ Sit upright in your chair, look straight ahead, knees hip-width apart and feet flat on the floor, core muscles engaged, shoulders relaxed and down. ◗ Keeping your chin tucked and your neck long, place your hands on the back of your head with your fingers interlaced. ◗ Gently push your head against your hands, holding firm while you do so, to feel the resistance and engagement in your neck muscles. Hold for a count of five, then relax. ◗ Repeat, holding for a count of 10, then relax. ◗ Repeat, holding for a count of 15, then relax. Repeat the whole sequence.

CHIN TUCK

◗ Sit upright in your chair, with your legs uncrossed, knees hip-width apart and feet flat on the floor. ◗ Relax your shoulders and rest your hands in your lap. ◗ Look ahead, with your chin tucked in, so that the back of your head is in line with your back. ◗ Pull your chin in, keeping your gaze level, as if you were trying to press the back of your head against a wall. Hold for a count of five then relax. Repeat five times.

FORWARD NECK FLEX ◗ Sit upright in your chair, with your legs uncrossed, knees hip-width apart and feet flat on the floor. ◗ Relax your shoulders and rest your hands in your lap. ◗ Look ahead, with your chin tucked in so the back of your head is in line with your back. ◗ Keeping your shoulders down and relaxed and your head level, move your chin forwards. Hold for a count of five, then relax. Repeat five times.

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