Can you apply Pilates to texting?

The beauty of Pilates for me is how it affects everyday life and can be applied to so many things you do daily; not just in the studio. The video above talks through ‘nodding the chin to chest’ and neck alignment in Pilates exercises but is relevant to many activities…including texting!

Image courtesy of Dr. Ken Hansraj

You may wonder why this is important. Well, the head is a heavy object- on average around 5kg in fact- which the body is designed to carry whilst in normal alignment. Now we have mobile phones we spend on average, two to four hours a day looking down at them! [1] Dr. Ken Hansraj looked at the effect this had on the neck, finding to little surprise that the more we lean forward at the neck, the heavier the head becomes; and therefore greater strain on the neck. He suggests ‘Loss of the natural curve of the cervical spine, leads to incrementally increased stresses about the cervical spine. These stresses may lead to early wear, tear, degeneration and possibly surgeries.’ [1]

So how does the video apply to this? If you look at the animation to the right, when we look down to something (e.g. a phone) many of us bend the neck forward at its base, C7 (this is the name of the vertebrae in the spine). In the video we find where the neck joins the skull, at the point C1 where the mastoid bones are. If we apply the same Pilates theory of nodding from this point, opposed to further down the spine, the effective weight of the head is not going to increase to the same degree and will be properly supported by the natural curvature of the spine. You may say that you haven’t tilted your head forward enough to see your phone though. If you still can’t see it you can either look further down with your eyes, or bring the phone up towards your head. It’s a simple as that! The more you do it, the more natural this will become and the less problems you’ll have in later life from this relatively new phenomenon.

If you would like to read Dr. Ken Hansraj’s study it is in the link below. Give it a try, then over time you may start noticing even more occasions you tilt your head forward and correct yourself. Let me know your thoughts or any questions in a comment below.
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[1] Neuro and Spine Surgery Surgical Technology International XXV p.277-279 (accessed 21.06.17)

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