If you work in an office, like so many people do, it's hard not to find yourself slouching or hunched over your laptop and phone all day. Those niggling pains in your neck and back aren't just an annoyance, according to orthopedics, they also carry a great deal of risk. The British Chiropractic Association states that our daily smartphone habits have led to a significant rise in the number of young people with back and neck problems.
The time we spend leaning over our screens can put our spinal discs under serious pressure. When you curve the top of your spine to look down at your phone, it's called 'Tech neck', and this seemingly small movement applies an exhausting 27kg of pressure on the top part of your spine. Roughly the same as carrying a small child around your neck!
In order to release some of this muscle pain and counterbalance 'tech neck', try practicing these four poses at the beginning and at the end of the day.
A Simple Forward-Fold
Simply keeping a small bend in the knees, with the feet slightly apart and hanging our body over our legs, we can immediately release tension in the head, neck, shoulders and upper back. Gently shaking out the head and neck in all directions can make you feel even more relaxed. You can do this sporadically throughout the day - perhaps even make it a habit every time you go to the bathroom! Small movement 'snacks' like this one throughout the day can really help to improve your posture and overall physical health.
Downward Facing Dog
One of the most basic of yoga poses, Downward Facing Dog helps to stretch out the shoulders, calves, hamstrings and hands. It can also relieve headaches and back pain - the perfect solution to those who may spend longer than they'd like to hunched over their laptops.
Cobra (or Upward Facing Dog)
Cobra is a nice one to do whilst watching TV in the evenings, it can help with back injury and pain by strengthening the spine, stretching the chest, shoulders, lungs and abs. If you're feeling stronger in the arms and back, then Upward Facing dog also promotes these benefits. These poses also have the added bonus of relieving stress and firming the buttocks - we're keen!
For those of you have handstands in your practice, this can be a great pose for strengthening the shoulders, arms and wrists whilst also stretching the abdomen. It also calms the brain and relieves stress and tension. The focus required for this pose can also help greatly with quietening and clearing the mind.
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Of course, if we are experiencing pain due to technology then the first step should be to try to minimise screen time. It's not always easy, but even just taking more regular breaks can greatly improve our physical and mental health. How about setting a timer every 30 mins to remind you to get up and walk around or stretch your hands up in the air? Small habits like this may seem trivial, but when completed on a regular basis they can vastly improve your overall health and fitness.
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