Dear Smart phone,

From the very first time I laid eyes on you all those years ago with your sleek and beautiful touch screen you had me interested. Then as we went along this care free relationship you kept bringing more to the fold like calendar management, reminders on when to take the bins out or when one of my siblings birthdays was coming up. Then you brought another into the relationship…. Siri…… fair to say by then I was head over heels for you and we did everything together and it was hard to think what I’d ever do with out you.

We have shared so many beautiful and personal memories together like that time we trekked up to Everest Basecamp together or when we went and ate fermented fish in Tahiti and I couldn’t even stomach more than a bite. And what about that time when…………… damn I can’t remember their name…. it’s right there on the tip of my tongue.

See this is the problem, of late I have been forgetting so many things, all of which I would normally have retained easily. I was the person that could remember everybody’s birthdays off by heart or could recall a conversation the month before. I have even forgotten how to pick up the phone and ring my best mate just to see how he is or even catch up face to face and see what he has been up to without being distracted every 3 minutes….. I’m starting to feel like the worlds most hairiest gold fish. Not to mention all the issues I’m getting in my neck, shoulders and hands from staring at you all day.

Because we have shared so much together I don’t want this to be the end of us and like all good long-term relationships I think it’s healthy for us to discuss and work through things. But I think we need to start seeing other people…. I will always be there for you just like you will be there for me to organise my weekly schedule but I will be spending more time back on my mind, body, general wellbeing and finding myself again as an individual. Less time on social media, less automatic reminders and less time wondering if Jason from Nebraska liked my latest Instagram post.

Forever grateful

-Ben

The Spiel

Firstly can I please point out the irony that I am writing a form of digital media on the effect smart devices can have on our body currently on my iPad, and you the reader are likely to be reading this off your phone or tablet. If I were to feel hypocritical at all it would be in this current moment.

We have all heard time and time again about the detrimental effects of screen time on hand held devices not only on the physical body but the mental side of things. But how can we really make an effective difference to our own well being when we are the pioneers of the digital age and if we don’t keep up with the Jones’ we will fall behind in societies advancements socially and professionally. So as opposed to looking at deleting your social media accounts and tossing your smartphone into the bonfire in some sort of liberating rebellion, why don’t we look at efficiency of time in front of the screen, paring that with some physical strategies for the body.

The Body

The average human head weighs around 5kgs and so when we are upright in an optimal postural position, our neck is taking that 5kg of load easily and efficiently. But as we tip our head forward to look at our screens down below the leverage of the head on the neck increases this load of force anywhere up to 5 times its weight depending on the angle. Causing adverse issues like pain and tightness around the Head, neck, shoulders and thoracic.

On top of this the repetitive scrolling and texting for extended use can exacerbate conditions like cubital tunnel syndrome and carpel tunnel syndrome, which cause pain and nerve tingling in the hand, thumb and fingers.

So what can we do to help combat these faulty postures/ positions that we all too frequently catch ourselves in? Watch the video below for our “Digital Detox Exercises” that can be done intermittently throughout the day to help reset your body.

The Facts

The average person checks their phone up to 150 times per day, between apps, voice calls, texts, and utilities. – Internet trends report by Mary Meeker

https://www.vox.com/recode/2019/6/11/18651010/mary-meeker-internet-trends-report-slides-2019

Hand held device usage not only effects our posture but also respiratory function. With significant changes in neck and shoulder blade angles as well as reduced breathing capacity

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4756000/

Thirty-nine per cent of Australian smartphone users think they use their phones too much. Of those respondents, only 26% are usually successful in limiting their use, while 34% are trying but not succeeding. 

https://www2.deloitte.com/au/mobile-consumer-survey

The Tips

So what can we do to reduce these issues?

  • You could use a hands-free device or a headset when talking on the phone
  • Be conscious on varying your positions regularly
  • Participating in light resistance, mobility and stretching exercises like in the video above
  • Actively reducing usage time by setting time restrictions on certain applications on your phone.

I have personally restricted myself to 45 minutes of social media usage per day on my iPhone and I was amazed at the start how quickly I would burn through this time allocation just from mindless scrolling. Sticking with it for the last month has definitely taught me to be more productive with my time on social media, which has definitely had more than just physical benefits but also giving me back more time in my general day and therefore increasing productivity, while still being connected to the greater world but not deleting the accounts all together.

To restrict app usage on your iPhone, complete the following steps:

  • Go to “Settings”
  • Select “Screen Time”
  • The stats on this page will give you an idea on how much you use your phone and what apps are being used
  • From here you can select time limits on apps or even schedule certain “downtime” on your phone where you would not be able to access certain apps.
  • When you have used up your time allowance your iPhone will remind you that you have used up you time, which is great to play on your conscience. Having said that if you need to keeping certain apps that day you do have the option to ignore the restrictions for with 15 minutes or the rest of the day

For Android users try the following:

  • Go to “Settings” via scroll down home screen or app
  • Select “Digital wellbeing”
  • Here it will display the amount of hours of screen time, including a breakdown of what apps you have viewed/used the most. As well as showing the number of time you have ‘unlocked’ your phone and number of ‘notifications’ received.
  • To apply restrictions on any app, select ” Dashboard”
  • Here you will be able to allocate a time restriction on each app, you even have the option to customise the time restrictions, if none of the allocated times are suitable.

*Please note these exercises and tips are general in nature if you are experiencing pain or any adverse symptoms please consult a medical or allied health professional


I hope you have enjoyed the information that I have shared with you in this blog and that you can use this to start taking back your physicality and wellbeing bit by bit, and not giving it all to the digital realm.

If you would like more information in regards to your wellbeing or would like to check out Aligned for Life Pilates Melbourne in regards to sessions, classes or workplace wellness programs click below.

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