Let me preface this by saying that one of my deepest fears in life, right behind getting trapped beneath the ice in a frozen lake and never hugging Stevie Nicks, is developing jowls prematurely or ever. Now, I have a lot of feelings against any kind of cosmetic surgery or modification beyond, say, a little Botox, so I have researched everything under the sun that I, as a twenty-something, can do in order to prevent jowls in the future.
My theory is that in this digital age where we are all glued to our phones and constantly looking down, a few years down the road we are going to be walking around with not only terrible posture, but also major neck wrinkles and premature facial sagging. Gravity is a bitch, isn’t it? Lucky for me, I have a long history with ballet and was trained from a young age to stand tall with my chin up and my shoulders back—it just comes naturally. But I work in social media, so the reality is that I am constantly looking at my devices whether I like it or not, and I fear the potential physical ramifications that may result.
But a few weeks ago, I was browsing through Classpass to book a Pilates class and I came across something that stopped me dead in my scroll: a class called “Pilates for Text Necks.” At first, I rolled my eyes and thought: How ridiculous! Has society really come to this? And then I laughed. And then I thought, hey, I should try this, both in the name of journalism and jowl prevention (and pure curiosity).
This unique class was created by a really nice lady named Kim Fielding, Director of Teacher Training at Gramercy Pilates NYC, who explained that Text Neck Syndrome (a real thing, who knew!) will eventually lead to neck and shoulder pain, nerve damage and possibly disc herniations.
“Lots of neck and shoulder pain are due to bad posture, which is a result of slumping forward while using mobile and computer devices or just sitting at a desk. The specific Pilates exercises taught in this class improve and reverse this condition and bring better functionality to everyday life,” says Fielding.
The class is held once per week at Gramercy Pilates here in New York and really focuses on stretching and strengthening the shoulders and upper back. Like most Pilates classes, it didn’t feel too challenging in the moment but following the 50-minute class I did notice myself standing taller and feeling lighter. It’s effective, but gentle, and therefore suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels, I’d say.
My verdict? Take the class. Say no to jowls.