iPosture – the Evolution of Your Posture
19th April 2015
Life has changed and now most of the world is a part of, or slave to, digital technology. Our collective posture has been folded and molded by the internet, while we text, tap and swipe on iPhones, iPads, tablets, phablets, laptops and desktops.
Words: Renée North
Hours hunched over, searching, answering, staring at a screen has created new conditions like text-neck, computer-slump and texting-thumb, while also reigniting old favorites like carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), forward head posture (FHP) and introduced a far younger generation to old faithful, low back pain (LBP).
Tech is taking us in the direction of… well, of staying seated, folded forward in a perpetual hunch sometimes referred to as “iPosture”. Communicating, working and playing online does have real, lifelong consequences as your body adapts to this folded posture.
Being aware of how digital habits affect you is key to maintaining optimal health
According to Dr. Steven Weiniger, posture expert and author of Stand Taller Live Longer, “Studies show poor posture is a major cause of back and neck pain for all ages, and over time contributes to digestive and cardiopulmonary problems. Another great motivator? People with strong posture live longer, healthier and more active lives.”
Do-It-Yourself Posture Check
The first step to improving posture is having a posture assessment. Dr. Weiniger provides this advice for evaluating your posture at home:
- Ask a friend to take 3 pictures of you: from the front, back, and side. Stand straight and tall with what feels like good posture (don’t look in a mirror – that’s cheating!).
- Print out the pictures, 1 per page.
- Put a dot between your feet on the front and back view, and a dot on your ankle on the side view.
- Fold each paper in half vertically at the dot.
Review Your Results
- Front & Back View: Your body should look the same on each side of the fold. If your head or torso is off to one side, or one arm rests further from your body, or one hand hangs a bit lower than the other, your posture is not symmetrical.
- Side View: The fold beginning at your ankle should pass through your shoulder and ear. If your head juts forward of the fold, you may have a posture distortion called Forward Head Posture (FHP). Your head should appear evenly placed over your shoulders, upper body, pelvis and feet, If you appear to be leaning, or your shoulders roll forward, it’s time to strengthen your posture.
Improving Posture with Exercise
Exercising with poor posture can worsen and weaken posture, so it’s important to work on your foundation first. Yoga, Pilates and StrongPosture exercise are all great for building body awareness and control and help you to train good habits when participating in other fitness activities.
Before the gym, the golf course or taking a walk, Dr. Weiniger recommends these posture strengthening exercises:
- One Leg Balance – Start building good posture by balancing on one foot. First, stand tall with your best posture, and then keep straight with your head floating towards the ceiling and shoulders relaxed as you lift your thigh until your knee is at hip height. Hold the position for 30 seconds on each side. If your balance or posture waivers, put your foot down, and begin again.
- Wall Stand – Back up to a wall. Your heels, bottom, shoulders and head should lightly touch the wall. Keep your head level and look straight ahead. Take 3 slow breaths. Note areas of stress or weakness, you’ll want to focus on these in your next Yoga or StrongPosture class.