On average, we spend 6.5 hours of time on the phone every day. Constantly looking down changes posture and body alignment. Is technology destroying our posture? The Hunchback of Notre Dame is not the look of vibrant health, yet constant technology usage is the new normal. How do we combat this life change?
Sitting Is the New Smoking
The human body was not designed for prolonged periods of sitting. The body follows where the head goes. A forward head posture causes the shoulders to hunch forward. It is scientifically proven that posture, good or bad, is linked to feelings and mood, impacting our life, work and relationships. Poor posture equals poor mood. Good posture leads to good feelings. Investing in good posture habits is an investment in our quality of life.
What Causes Poor Posture?
Genetics: Women are predisposed to a dowager hump, especially with the factors of being thin or of northern European or Asian descent.
Weak Bone Strength: This is the result of insufficient calcium and/or vitamin D, which helps absorb calcium.
Inactivity: Muscles naturally weaken when not used. A sedentary lifestyle erodes our strength and ability to have good posture.
Technology Usage: A habit of looking down changes posture and alignment.
Create the Good Posture Habit
Tech apps can help. Luckily, technology can be the solution as well as the problem. Lumo Lift is a $79.99 sensor that vibrates when you slump and can be managed via an app on your phone.
There are also DIY ways to combat poor posture habits. Jenn Stofferahn, trainer and owner of True Fitness & Nutrition in McLean, Virginia, suggests the habit of “packing your shoulders.” Here is how: “Take a second, whether you’re sitting down or standing up, and try this brief exercise. Sit or stand with your arms by your sides. Close your eyes and focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together behind you. Hold the squeeze there for five seconds. Next, without letting go of that squeeze, pretend that someone has tucked a rolled-up newspaper under each of your armpits and you have to hold onto them. That is a packed shoulder position.”
The No-Hump Solution
Nutrition: Get enough calcium, get enough vitamin D and eat plenty of fruits and veggies to nutritionally build bone mass.
Exercise: Increase weight-bearing exercises to strengthen bones and build muscles to maintain good posture. Enlist a good trainer to identify exercises that counterbalance poor habits, as well as delay the genetic predisposition to a hump.
Technology Habits: Talk, don’t type! Dictate your text messages. Also, invest in a smartphone app that teaches posture awareness.
Rebekah Kelley is the founder of Virtue Skinfood, a wholistic luxury skin care line. To find out more, visit virtueskinfood.com or One80 Salon at 1275 K St. NW.