Technology continues to prove both incredibly amazing and outrageously scary. Research shows how bad sitting all day is for your health, yet with the boom of the Internet, many jobs rely on doing just that. Then there are phones. While cellphones used to be as straightforward as making a call on-the-go, they have since been transformed into smartphones, or mini computers that provide us with instant access to seemingly anything we might desire.
People’s heads are no longer “in the clouds,” so to speak, but staring straight down at their computers, laptops, and yes, these convenient smartphones. This technology is undoubtedly affecting our habits and our health. Many people are losing the ability to hold a conversation, and to pay attention for extended periods of time. They are constantly dialed in to these small screens as a means of escaping boredom, human interaction, and more.
Did you know that staring down at your device is like having an eight-year old sitting on your head while you are standing? When you’re typing a message, reading an e-mail, or browsing the Internet, you’re enduring about 60 pounds of pressure. The average person spends two to four hours a day in this position.
The model above was developed by Dr. Kenneth K. Hansraj, chief of spinal surgery at New York Spine Surgery & Rehabilitation Medicine, and shows how this position puts an extreme amount of force on your neck and spine.
Dr. Hansraj’s notes in his paper, published in Surgical Technology International, that part of having good posture entails having your ears aligned with the shoulders and your shoulder blades back. Doing so lowers body stress and even decreases cortisol. However, poor posture stresses the spine and may even lead to surgery from all the wear and tear.
A quick solution would be to put our phones down once and for all, but since that’s probably not a feasible option for many of us, you can try to hold your phone straight in front of you instead of bending your head down. Place your device at a 30 degree angle when typing or tapping to protect your wrists, at a right angle if you’re reading, and keep your neck back rather than forward.
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