Recently I have had so many of my clients coming in feeling quite tight and tense through their shoulders and neck. More so than usual. And it got me thinking about the relationship between Winter, being cold and the amount of shoulder tension and neck stress we hold in our bodies over the colder months.
As the temperature has dropped quite noticeably and will undoubtedly stay this way for a few more months, it seems appropriate that we all become aware of our posture and how we hold ourselves. Think about when you are cold and how your posture changes. Do you slouch more trying to get warm? Do you draw your shoulders up and forward hunching to keep the cold out? Do you throw your head forward because you shoulders are rounded? Do you clench your teeth? Do you slump into the pelvis? Imagine this poor posture for days on end, even months as we endure winter. This weak, ungainly posture only reinforces bad body alignment and promotes chronic neck pain and shoulder tension.
In addition to poor posture many of us find ourselves shivering through winter as well. The body’s natural way of staying warm is to shiver. When we are cold tiny micro muscles tighten and loosen very fast as a way of creating energy and heat therefore keeping us warm and maintaining our internal body temperature.
Think about it – shivering coupled with poor posture for hours on end, no wonder many of my clients come in complaining of tension through their neck and shoulders. Whilst there is not much we can do about the cold weather there are steps you can do to help.
Awareness is the first step, think about your posture next time you are cold and try and correct it. Next, throw on some extra clothes when you go outside so you are really rugged up and warm. Finally find some time to undo the effects of shivering and poor posture with Pilates. Tell your insturctor you are feeling tight and tense through your shoulders and neck and she will be sure to give you some Pilates exercises to combat and fix the issue.