Practice Safe Text: Healthier Smartphone Habits By: Domenico Oppedisano

Technological advances have turned smartphones into personalized devices that people never leave their homes without. We all need our smartphones by our sides so we can make calls, send text messages, check emails, surf the web, and take notes. Millions of people are using their smartphones on a daily basis, and essentially, in a poor posture. Research studies suggests that the constant use of cell phone devices, particularly when text messaging and looking downward at the screen, may lead to the development of faulty posture. In terms of body biomechanics, spending too much time on your smartphone can put you at risk for:

  • Sore thumbs and wrists
  • Sore shoulders
  • Stiff or sore neck
  • Stiff or sore upper back

These aches and pains are caused by holding one position for too long and doing the same movements for long periods of time, placing extra (and unnecessary) stress on your joints. This extra stress can lead to discomfort and pain. It is also worth noting that the dual-task of walking while using a cell phone may impact your walking to such a degree that it may compromise safety. Particularly, text messaging has been shown to interfere with walking speed and quality, more so than talking on the cell phone. Therefore, we should make an effort to change and modify our habits when using cell phone devices.

At this point, you may be asking yourself: “OK! So what can I do!?” Well don’t worry because I am going to provide you with 5 simple suggestions. You may choose to use all of them or whichever works best for you (no pressure!).

  • 1. Posture.
  • When you are using your phone while sitting down place your feet flat on the floor, hold your smartphone about 1 foot away from your face and below eye level, and line up your earlobe, shoulder and torso.
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  • 2. Break Time!
  • Take a 5 minute break for every 20 minutes you spend on your smartphone. Aim for less than 4 hours of total smartphone use per day.
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While you’re taking a break away from your smartphone, perform the following:

  • 3. Chin Tucks.
  • Look straight ahead and slowly pull your chin back so your ears line up with your shoulders. Hold for 3 seconds and repeat 10 times during each break.
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  • 4. Shoulder Rolls.
  • Roll your shoulders back and down. Repeat 10 times during each break.
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  • 5. Wrist Stretches.
  • Use one hand to bend the opposite wrist down while keeping your elbow straight. Repeat the exercise by bending your wrist up. Hold for 3 seconds and repeat 10 times during each break. Perform on both wrists.
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January 11, 2017