Is Social Media Ruining Your Posture?

First of all, I spend plenty of time scrolling through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds on my iPhone (all in the name of business research).

So, this is not a post telling you to spend less time on social media, as that would be hypocritical.

Instead, this article is intended to help you optimise your posture whilst enjoying social media on your mobile device, so you can breathe properly, and avoid neck, shoulder, elbow and back pain and a host of other problems associated with hours spent hunching over a smartphone or tablet.

Think of it as desk ergonomics for your body.

The Problem

In the UK alone, people are spending an average of 3 hours and 16 minutes a day on their smartphone (read more here).

Much of this time is spent hunched over, looking down, with the device held out in front of you, usually in one hand.

This hunched position promotes the following:

  1. Depressed ribcage, which interrupts diaphragm position and causes shallow, chest breathing (this is bad).
  2. Rounded and internally rotated shoulders which makes you tight across the chest and front of the shoulders and weak across the back of the shoulders and upper back and can lead to big rotator cuff problems and shoulder pain.
  3. Rounded upper back (slouching) which can tighten your upper abdominals and lead to weakness in the thoracic erector muscles and is a big cause of upper back and neck pain
  4. Forward Head Posture, where the head migrates forwards and the short muscles at the back of the neck tighten up, further interrupting breathing patterns and leading to a whole host of neck, shoulder and upper back pain syndromes
  5. Lower back pain. Not such an obvious link, but when the upper back (thoracic spine) becomes rounded (more than natural) and the surrounding muscluature tight, it often leads to excess movement in the lumbar spine and lack of stability, which is a huge issue if you have back pain
  6. If you spend that 3 hours 16 minutes in a chair, then it’s likely that your hip flexors will get tight (again a big cause of excess movement in the lumbar spine and back pain) and your glutes (buttock muscles) can become weak and dysfunctional (if your glutes are not working then you’re predisposing yourself to lower back pain).

Also, think how much healthier and fitter you could be if you spent 1 hour a day improving your posture and exercising and only 2 hours, 16 minutes on your phone. Just a thought.

The Solution

Instead of reinventing the wheel, or writing a long article about how to fix your poor posture and crappy smartphone set up, I simply want to share this excellent video from Kelly Starret, founder of Mobility WOD.

Enjoy and apply!

If you enjoyed this article and found it useful, please leave me a comment below and recommend it to anyone you think it might help.

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