The rise and fall of the nerd neck

In days long gone, ramrod straight backs were synonymous with good deportment. Girls were made to walk with books on their heads to perfect good posture. Even today many mothers tell their children not to slouch, and to stand up straight, with shoulders back and chests out.

Posture is still often evoked to represent the ideal, the beautiful, the perfect body, yet some practices in recent decades hinder it for thousands of young and old. Many children and millennials are starting to develop kyphosis, or curvature of the thoracic spine, by sitting for prolonged periods of time in a “shrimp position” while stooped over mobile phones and computers.

“Nerd neck”, as it is called, puts undue pressure on the spine and can lead to disc herniation and early onset osteoarthritis, experts believe. They often prescribe physician-guided exercise programmes such as core-strengthening yoga and Pilates workouts.

Core exercises strengthen the muscles of the spine, abdomen, and pelvis, which support all physical activity. The right exercises can improve your posture and correct forward head posture over time.

Perform several of the following exercises 2-3 times a day, 3-4 sets of each exercise:

  1. Tilt your head forward gently, touch your chin to your chest, hold for five seconds, then release.
  2. Rotate your head to the left until you feel a mild stretch. Hold for five seconds, then repeat to the right.
  3. Push your head forward until you feel the stretch through your throat. Hold for five seconds, then release.

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