Is your body a question mark? Neck jutting, shoulders bowed, rib cage concave? There's a simple reason: We spend too much time nestling a smartphone and hunched over a laptop. Here's how to fix the damage your Instagram habit (or desk job) is doing to your body.
YOUR NECK: "No matter how athletic, everybody is coming in with forward shoulder, forward head, and slumped posture," says Kim Fielding, a movement therapist who started a Pilates for Text Necks class at Gramercy Pilates in New York City. Looking down at a screen overstretches some neck muscles and shortens others, says Fielding. Rest your neck, pillow-like, on a foam roller or a rolled towel. Slowly nod up and down 10 to 20 times, then do a full circle, switching directions after 10 reps. Carefully turn your head to each side and repeat the nods.
YOUR CHEST AND RIBS: Josephine McErlean, co-owner of Kore Pilates in New York City, suggests lying with your back on a foam roller or towel, aligning your spine with it, palms facing up and out in a T shape. Breathe into the ribs, opening the collarbone.
YOUR HANDS: Stephanie Creaturo of Brooklyn-based Mala Yoga often starts classes by offering up a tub of tennis or lacrosse balls. Roll one under your wrist and fingers in a clockwise and counterclockwise pattern, counting to 20 on each side and rolling up and down your forearm, too.
Oh, and remember to breathe—digital overload "affects the nervous system," Creaturo explains, by keeping us in a constant state of low-level stimulation and anxiety, and crimping our breathing. She prescribes "rectangle breathing": breathing in for two counts and out for four. Your body will thank you.
This article appears in the July issue of Marie Claire, on newsstands now.
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