Living in an overwhelmingly digital society, it’s no surprise that we are becoming increasingly dependent on our smartphones for just about everything.
In fact, most people struggle to go a day without it.
And if you’re yet to realise how much you really are addicted to your phone, we recommend getting the mobile application Moment, which measures how many times a day you pick up your phone and how long you use it. We guarantee, the results will shock you.
Shamefully, when we tested the app, our results showed us holding our phone for an average five hours per day!
However speaking to Be, movement specialist Matt Waterton has stressed the importance of recognising the impact phones are having on our bodies.
“We have to understand that we are addicted to them, let’s be honest, we all are… Like anything, we have to try to ration its use,” he says.
“Now that we have computers in our pockets, simply getting away from our desk is no longer enough.”
“Even when standing we are hunching over screens, stressing over emails, texts or how popular we are on social media. These extended periods in a hunched position causes rounding of the thoracic spine. It also leads to internally rotated shoulders, which can exacerbate the hunched position even more.”
Over time, Matt says this could lead to detrimental effects to your body including muscular imbalances, long-term postural complaints and potentially even impacted breathing ability as we struggle to extend the thoracic spine and expand the rib cage.
Matt has revealed his greatest fears lie in younger generations who “know no different” and have smartphones, laptops and tablets rooted in the school curriculum.
“Lifestyle-based diseases are on the rise, chronic pain and back injuries are at an all-time high and the only winners are the pharmaceutical companies selling us pain medication. The way we move and train has to change,” Matt stresses, explaining the fitness industry should also play a role in limiting this ‘impending crisis.’
So how can we limit our phone usage?
Matt shared his top tips to kick your phone habit:
- Turn off email notifications and just set an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon to check them… same goes for social media notifications.
- Turn phone to flight mode when having meals or exercising, these times should be a break from all other stimulation to refuel or recharge the body.
- Listen to music/e-books or podcasts while travelling or commuting, and avoid TV shows – games and social media apps, leave the phone in your pocket.
- He also recommends taking a break away from any screens every 90 minutes and instead do a series of light stretches or movements targeting the neck, thoracic spine, shoulders and hips.
- Shut down everything an hour or two before bed if possible, this will allow the body to relax and ensure better quality sleep.
- Delete tinder and dating apps. You may spend so much time swiping for the perfect date that you miss the real opportunity sat next to you on the bus!
Matt Waterton is the founder of Strength in Motion Training and the Waveblade Movement, with over 15 years experience in rehabilitation, strength and conditioning.