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The Effects of Technology on Posture

The Effects of Technology on Posture

A lot of us suffer from bad posture, but having good posture is extremely beneficial to our health and general wellbeing. A good posture can help do a number of things such as prevent back and neck pain, decrease wear and tear on your joints, increase your energy levels, and increase your spine’s durability. So quite a lot of benefits from having a good posture! 

Our posture is so important as our other bodily organs, tissues, nerves and bones rely on it as our spine absorbs shock, leverages movements and protects the spinal cord - an extension of your brain and the way your brain sends messages to the rest of your body.

Having a slumped posture curves the spine, and puts a lot of stress onto the spines supporting body parts, which can degrade the strength of the spinal cord. 

Unfortunately, modern technology has impacted the way we hold ourselves - and not for the better. 

Sitting in front of a computer or phone for even a couple of hours, forces your muscles and ligaments to pull your spine up to an erect position. Because of this - these muscles and ligaments send messages to our brain to stimulate a response to change our posture.

Consider the scenario where we sit in front of our computer or tablet for 2 hours, our ligaments and muscles are straining to pull our spine back into an erect position.  As a result, the tissues start sending impulses to the brain, to stimulate a voluntary response to change our posture. When the brain eventually receives it all, our perception of back pain is triggered.

Poor posture due to technology can also lead to depression. A study on depression found that depressed subjects often keep their heads down due to low self-esteem and lack of energy. The solution was basketball! As well as having a goal to focus on - standing tall and looking up throughout the game forced their spines to straighten, improving breathing and oxygen flow around the body - and eventually improved the symptoms of depression.

Your phone can also cause poor posture which can lead to wrist problems. More and more of us spend more time on mobile devices, sometimes for hours at a time - and this is in addition to us spending too much time sitting at our desks. 

When we hold our phones, we’re rotating our wrists and stretching our thumbs out - making them perform rapid and repetitive movements, without necks and heads looking down at what might be an awkward and uncomfortable angle. Did you know that for every 2cm you lean your head forward, you are putting 5kg of extra strain on the joints of your spine - after a long time, this can actually do some serious damage to your upper back and neck.

As well as this workout our thumbs get on our phone, computer games, and typing also give our wrists, hands, and fingers a lot to do! Pain in these areas is a common occurrence to those who use a lot of technology, due to the repetitive movements that these devices encourage. What’s worse is that inventions like social media and video games are designed to keep you distracted so you might not realize the pain your body is in until serious damage is done.

In addition to all these posture difficulties and repetitive movements that cause strain, it’s also really easy to have accidents that can affect our bodies and our postures while using technology. People can sometimes be so engrossed in what they’re looking down at in their hands that they can’t see what’s literally going on in the world around them. Walking into lamp posts, doors, windows, dropping phones on their faces or feet - and worst of all car accidents and collisions. This is a seriously damaging way that technology can have a fatal effect on our bodies. While not necessarily a problem that can be resolved by better postures - it's still important to keep this issue in mind to avoid bumping into things!

With all the above-mentioned dangers on our bodies at large, there are a few solutions and preventative measures you can take to reduce the effects of stress on your body caused by all this tech.

A stand-up desk is a great solution to help ease the stress on your neck and back, and also helps you to avoid sitting too long, as you can stand up while you work on your computer or laptop. This might seem weird to start off with but you’ll notice the benefits in no time! If you can get a stand-up desk - make sure your screen, desk, and chair height are all set up in the optimum position for working. This will reduce the damage sitting down looking at a screen will do to your back and neck.

Having lots of breaks from using your technology - your computer, your tv, your mobile phone or your games console will help to break the repetitive cycle and reduce the stress on your hands, wrists, and necks. Try to get up and walk around for a few minutes at minimum every half an hour to give yourself and your body a break.

Stretching can also help to keep your blood flowing around your body and lengthen out those regularly contracted muscles. Try to stretch whenever you feel tightness or discomfort in your body.

In conclusion - while technology has aided our lives in so many different ways, we need to remember the importance of good posture and how our bodies were designed to stand and sit. Above anything else, remember, stand tall and look up.

By Amy Cavill

Want to get better posture with yoga? Try this program!

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