(ORLANDO, Florida) – The average adult spends more than three and a half hours daily looking down at their smartphone. Body misalignment can lead to everything from chronic pain and circulation problems to heartburn and digestive issues, but a new national survey by Orlando Health finds less than half of Americans are concerned about the health consequences of bad posture while using their mobile devices.
“It’s not just smartphones, but anything that puts your body in a less than optimal position, like working at a desk or lounging on the couch,” said Nathaniel Melendez, an exercise physiologist at the Orlando Health National Training Center. “The good news is that poor posture can be improved with a few simple adjustments. You’d be surprised what strengthening your core and doing a few postural corrective exercises can do for your body.”
Even slight misalignment can cause major issues. Every inch your head moves in front of your body adds 10 pounds of pressure on your shoulders. “Let’s just say, for example, your head moves four inches in front of your body while you’re looking down at your phone or reading a book — that’s the equivalent of having a child sitting on your shoulders the whole time.”
Melendez says the first step is assessing your starting point, which you can easily do using the “W” test. Start with your feet six inches from a wall with your lower back, elbows and wrists touching the wall. Move your arms up and down on the wall while maintaining all five contact points. “A lot of people struggle to do this exercise, but if you consistently work to improve your posture, it will get easier,” said Melendez.
In addition to corrective exercises, keeping your posture top-of-mind throughout the day can help. If you work at a computer, raise the screen to eye level and sit with both feet flat on the floor. Take frequent breaks to get up and move around, whether at work or at home.