This isn't news - we are addicted to our phones. We check our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, emails, and texts all day long. If you aren't closely monitoring it, it's extremely easy to be looking at a screen for many hours every day. People who design phones and apps know this, and they create ways to keep you on your screen and consuming as much as possible. We get a wonderful burst of dopamine every time we get a like or a comment, which encourages us to keep posting and scrolling hour after hour.
Arguably, most of the time we spend on our phone is used for looking at social media. Unless you are one of the rare people who aren't on FB or IG, you know what I'm saying is true. You can check how much time you spend on apps by using a Screen Time tracking app on your phone, and you can even set limits for how much you want to use it every day. I personally do this by limiting my social networking time to 1.5 hours per day, and try to stay under 3 hours of total screen time each day - but that is still a lot of time!
Not only is your time being sucked away, your physical body is being shaped by social media. This is also not news and many articles have been written on this phenomenon (“Your iPhone is Ruining Your Posture — And Your Mood,” “Text Neck is Becoming an Epidemic and Could Wreck Your Spine,” and “Digital Disabilities — Text Neck, Cellphone Elbow — Are Painful and Growing”).
Recently some are reporting that young people are growing "horns" on the back of their skulls due to the amount of screen time, but it is controversial https://wgntv.com/2019/06/21/a-report-says-young-people-are-growing-horns-on-their-skulls-critics-dont-buy-it/.
Katy Bowman, a biomechanist I follow, is known for her work on movement, and has five exercises that can be done to combat the shaping of our bodies by our phones.
- Head ramping (or just back your face away from your phone). Keeping your eyes on the horizon, and without lifting the chin or chest, slide your head back to the wall behind you. This is an easy adjustment that immediately increases the height of your head, decompresses the vertebrae in your neck, and stretches the small muscles in the head, neck, and upper back. SIMPLE and effective.
- Thumb stretch. Make a loose fist with your right hand with the thumb pointing up. Grasp the thumb as low as you can with your left hand and move it like it’s an old-fashioned joystick, slowly moving it toward you and side-to-side at varying angles.
- Wrist stretch. Keeping your shoulders down and relaxed, touch the backs of your hands together including the thumbs, then bring them down to waist level. Hold there or move them slowly up and down in front of your torso, or right to left. Keep those thumbs touching!
- Thoracic stretch. Place your hands on a wall, step back to bring your hips behind you, then lower your chest toward the ground stretching your shoulders.
- Nerve Stretch. Reach your hands away from you making a T with your arms and a "STOP" motion with your hands. Spreading your fingers away from each other, slowly work your fingertips toward your head. Keep your middle fingers pointing up, thumbs forward, and elbows slightly bent toward the ground. Think of reaching the upper arm bones away from you as you work your fingers back.
These are movements you can incorporate into your daily routine in order to combat the long term problems that may be developing from constantly looking down. Bowman has an in-depth article on our relationship with social media and why she takes a long break every summer (https://www.nutritiousmovement.com/podcast-transcript-ep-80-social-media-is-shaping-your-body/)
You can also give yourself a much needed break from social media and drastically reduce your screen time by participating in our gym-wide Social Media Break from July 7 - July 13! A challenge is always more fun when you are doing it with others! Will you join in?
15 OHS (95/65)