With proper running form it’s important to have good posture where your shoulders are over your hips, and your hips are over your ankles. The added bonus is when you can keep your ears in the equation and have your ears over your shoulders. This will set up your skeletal system to do its job and all you’ve got to do is fall forward with this nice alignment to run with ease (See ChiRunning for more details on running with ease).
One of the things I’ve been seeing over the past few years working with clients is the forward head position from technology usage, aka. Tech-Neck. I did a quick video on this last week (click that link to check it out). This is when our ears no longer align and are consistently forward of our shoulders and in advanced cases, the shoulders begin to roll forward.
Take a self-assessment and see where you are. Some people are hunched while in the act of using technology, but can bring their head to a proper position when they stand and find their proper posture. If this is you, count yourself lucky and begin to mindfully integrate more time in alignment than out of alignment. Learn to feel when your body is beginning to slump and make adjustments to maintain your proper posture.
If you find yourself concerned about your head placement and wanting to ditch Tech-Neck altogether, you can check out the exercises below to keep your head in the right place. Please note, that I have my doctor’s approval and natural practitioner’s blessing to engage in these activities, and I suggest that you consult your doctor or practitioner before you partake in these activities.
This is a very mild way to open up your chest and let you neck relax in an open position. You can position your bolster/pillow to allow for more or less extension in your neck. Listen to your body and work your way deeper into this stretch.
This pose is more active and will require you to push up from the floor with your arms. Once your ribs are open, your arms are stacked (under your shoulders) you will continue to lengthen through your crown and allow your head to arch back. Again, listen to your body to determine how far is far enough, and over time work into more flexibility.
This video will show you how to massage the muscle group under your jaw (Suprahyoid) and also your Sternocleidomastoid (SCM). These muscles are located in the front of the neck and are responsible for much head movement. Most people massage the back of their neck when they’re feeling achy and tight, but I’ll tell you, it’s made a huge difference for me to work on the front of the neck.
The next two are from Tim Anderson, the founder of Original Strength. The Original Strength System teaches movements that help RESET an individual’s neuromuscular system which allows them to experience improved physical movement and physiological function. In short, it does wonders for your body and helps relieve tightness, aches and pains by resetting your body, we say, “back to factory settings.” Pre-Tech-Neck!
This is so good, especially if you work at a desk all day. These simple movements can be done at your desk and are revolutionary when you add in the part of following your eyes. They should stay open and lead the direction you want to move your neck. I love that Tim calls it a “movement snack!”
This series of movements is longer, requires a space to lay down (a floor with a yoga mat), in increases the benefit exponentially. They may seem like very simple movements, and not capable of making big changes to your body, but I can attest to their ability to reset my body. This series not only releases tension from your neck, it begins to open up your chest. The slow and steady nature of this reset also allows for stress to melt away in your body.
Each of these strategies deals with tension in your neck that impacts the way you align your body. I hope you found them helpful in preventing or dealing with Tech-Neck!
Happy Alignment Equals Happy Running!
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