Our obsession with smart phones is wrecking our posture. We're spending more and more time hunched over our devices to the detriment of our health.
Apple says its average user unlocks their phone 80 times a day. But hold on, the number almost doubles for Millennials: 150 phone checks a day! Add that to the long hours slouched in front of our computers at work followed by an evening in front of the tube and that's a recipe for terrible posture...and early death.
Dr. Mladen Golubic, medical director for the Center for Lifestyle Medicine at Cleveland Clinic's Wellness Institute, says bad posture stresses joints and muscles which can cause back pain, headaches, long-term injuries and more. Maintaining good posture helps you stay alert and focused.
"When you slump, you have reduced your capacity to inhale properly, to inhale through diaphragmatic breathing rather than just expanding the chest," he pointed out. "So quickly that could lead to feeling tired and exhausted and feeling sleepy."
On the other hand, maintaining good posture helps you stay alert and focused. It also makes you look taller, thinner and more confident. Some say it even makes you feel more confident.
5 Ways to Improve Posture
1. Lose Weight: Carrying too many extra pounds can cause the spinal cord to change, due to the added strain being placed on the vertebrae.
2. Get enough Calcium and Vitamin D: Calcium is in dairy products and supplements. Vitamin D comes from spending time in the sunlight or supplements.
3. Be mindful of sitting or standing straight: May is Posture Month. So now is the perfect time to start a new habit of regularly checking yourself to make sure you're standing or sitting straight. Set your alarm for every 30 minutes or every hour as a reminder. Soon you won't need the reminder.
4. Take breaks from sitting too long: Again, an alarm will help at first, to remind yourself to get up every 30 minutes or so and walk around. Too much time sitting can lead to early death from Sedentary Death Syndrome.
5. Strengthen your core: This is probably the most beneficial of all the tips. Having strong abdominal and back muscles supports your spine 24/7. Here are some core strengthening exercises you can do at home.
- lie face down on the floor, then lift your chest and legs and hold
- get on all-fours then lift your arm and the opposite leg even with your back and hold, then switch sides
- lie flat on the floor then support your body weight on your elbows (directly under your shoulders) and toes. This is called "the plank."