I’ve been pretty faithful about doing my “homework” in my personal training – a series of stretches and exercises to build on what I’m learning with Jaime as well as help correct specific muscle weaknesses. My cranky hip is a lot less cranky and my back is getting stronger. But, wouldn’t you know it, as those first issues begin to correct themselves, other trouble spots begin to rear their ugly little heads.
For instance, my pain-in-the-neck neck. Between work and my graduate studies I am on the computer a lot, a position that naturally causes the head to creep forward and the shoulders to hunch over. I’m getting better about monitoring the shoulders, but the head keeps creeping forward. That’s a lot of weight for the neck to hold up.
“The human head weights about 15 pounds,” Jaime explains. “When you are not in proper posture – if your head is forward – its weight doubles for every half-inch your head is forward, so 30 pounds for a half-inch forward, 45 pounds for one inch forward. This adds lots of stress on the neck and upper back.”
Jaime had been noticing the muscles in my neck were the last part of my push up to shape up. My lower back is strong (thanks to my homework exercises) and I can do 12 standard pushups with pretty good form, except for my neck, which is still creeping out of neutral alignment. So, Jaime’s prescribed some new exercises to 1) isolate the muscles and 2) integrate the work my muscles learned doing the isolation exercises into larger movements.
This “isolate and integrate” strategy is the same one Jaime has been using in my core exercises. I’ve mainly been working on isolation exercises, but my new routine has more integrative exercises using the stability ball. These exercises also translate into the everyday movements that challenge us – like lifting my sleeping 40-pound 3-year-old. (Can you say dead weight?)
Now I’m working to integrate my new focus on keeping my head and neck aligned. From driving to working on the computer to yoga, I’m paying more attention to my head and neck alignment. So long, pain-in-the-neck neck!
Health & Exercise Prescriptions
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