Friday, September 11, 2015

Hold the Phone

In reference to the former Posturing post, I wanted to focus more on a specific aspect of said publication. As I get older I feel lucky in saying, "I'm returning to work," at summer's end. Such is the life of a teacher, we don't necessarily get expense accounts but we get the summers off (which I suppose equals things out in the end). However, as I return to school, I can no longer check my texts from the couch or view my laptop while laying in bed. Joining the rest of the work force, I am sitting or standing for most of the day. And in doing so, posture becomes a "hotter" issue than it might in the lazy, hazy days of summer.

Part of a return from summer means an increased use of my cell phone and by proxy, worse posture. Loads of yoga and more time "posture practicing" in the summer often leads to a more aligned spine and better breath as I find air can flow naturally from my lungs to nose rather than detour through a crooked neck that's always hunched over a phone. Last year, my first visit to the chiropractor resulted in a diagnosis of "cell phone neck" or, "[l]ooking down, dropping your head forward [and changing] the natural curvature of your neck," as defined by the Cleveland Clinic's article: "Text Neck: Is Smarphone Use Causing Your Neck Pain? Indeed, institutions like the Cleveland Clinic have noted an increase in younger patients suffering from ailments previously associated with the elderly such as a strained neck or back. Essentially, lowering one's neck to view the contents of a cell phone puts greater pressure and strain on associated muscles. According to Dr. Bolash (via the Cleveland Clinic), '[n]eck muscles, in their proper position, are designed to support the weight of your head, about 10 to 12 pounds... [F]or every inch you drop your head forward, you double the load on those muscles." In this sense, aligning your ears with your shoulders while looking at your phone can save you a world of hurt.

Holding the phone at eye level: good for your posture, good for selfies.

Moving from the Cleveland Clinic to Seventeen Magazine (not a large jump as far as I'm concerned), an article entitled, "10 Tips For Taking The Perfect Selfie" suggests readers hold their cameras over their heads to, "give... selfies an artsy feel, while [providing] the opportunity to show off some of your cute outfit." While such advice seems the fodder of (young) millennials, it adds up to words of wisdom as far as posture and thereby muscular health is concerned. Holding your phone closer to eye level keeps your head and neck more naturally aligned, helping to avoid shoulders which slouch or even lower back pain. With this in mind, I've found it a bit difficult to maintain a level eye gaze. So much falls slightly at or below our eye level. But holding our phones (and heads high) can be a simple task which allows for greater benefit in the future.

Perhaps cell phones are making us devolve?

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