As I walk on campus each week, I notice things like posture, it's the movement nerd in me. A big part of my work is helping people achieve vitality and vibrant well-being through movement. In fact, one of the the fitness practices I teach at Hope, called Nia, teaches that "Through Movement We Find Health". I believe that whole-heartedly. We only get ONE spine and while I won't give a lesson on all the things the spine does for our body today, I think we can agree that it's a part of the body that many people have issues with. I hear about it and see it everyday. With the onslaught of work that most of us have to do sitting at a desk in front of a computer, coupled with the use of our smart phones, we are now seeing a whole new set of physical wear and tear in the cervical spine. It's so prevalent that it's called 'text spine'! I found this great article and wanted to share it with you so that you could begin to be more aware of your posture, your spine, and your alignment as you sit at the computer, as you look at your phone, and especially when you are away from both. AWARENESS creates CONNECTION to the body and helps us to HEAL. The awareness is ongoing. I'll be watching as I walk through campus, for taller, more aligned colleagues! And friends, guess who this is hitting the hardest? Teens, college kids and our young ones. Please pass this on to your students in an effort to help them be more aware of their posture and their spines. We only get one Spine, be an excellent steward of your body!
To your Best Health!,
Hope College Wellness Director
"The human head weighs about a dozen pounds. But as the neck bends forward and down, the weight on the cervical spine begins to increase. At a 15-degree angle, this weight is about 27 pounds, at 30 degrees it’s 40 pounds, at 45 degrees it’s 49 pounds, and at 60 degrees it’s 60 pounds.
That’s the burden that comes with staring at a smartphone — the way millions do for hours every day, according to research published by Kenneth Hansraj in the National Library of Medicine. The study will appear next month in Surgical Technology International. Over time, researchers say, this poor posture, sometimes called “text neck,” can lead to early wear-and-tear on the spine, degeneration and even surgery.
“It is an epidemic or, at least, it’s very common,” Hansraj, chief of spine surgery at New York Spine Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine, told The Washington Post. “Just look around you, everyone has their heads down.”
Can’t grasp the significance of 60 pounds? Imagine carrying an 8-year-old around your neck several hours per day. Smartphone users spend an average of two to four hours per day hunched over, reading e-mails, sending texts or checking social media sites. That’s 700 to 1,400 hours per year people are putting stress on their spines, according to the research. And high-schoolers might be the worst. They could conceivably spend an additional 5,000 hours in this position, Hansraj said."
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