Do you suffer from rounded shoulders, neck pain, mid and lower back discomfort and in some extreme cases, numbness in the hands? You are not alone. These are some of the symptoms that may arise from continuous extended periods of smart phone or hand held devices usage. Without corrective exercises this may lead to kyphosis: an excessive rounding of shoulders that arises from repeatedly leaning forward, gazing down at the screen and holding the device in your hand in a supine position (facing up). I usually describe "kyphosis" by drawing the image of the character from the Simpsons "Mr. Burns".
Does this sound familiar? Take a look around and you will see many smart phone users with the "Mr. Burns" syndrome. Are you one of them?
There is hope! Here are 4 simple smart moves you can do NOW to help reverse and prevent this debilitating condition. Remember this acronym
Rest: Avoid 30 minutes or more of continuously looking down at your device.
Awareness: Be mindful of any neck, mid or lower back pain. This is a signal to rest and/or to do some corrective exercises.
Move: Specific movements can go a long way in relaxing overactive muscles and improve joint integrity.
Posture: Sit up straight! Stand tall. Consider getting a posture pal, a friend who will tell you when you are slouching.
Here are 4 simple exercises you can do NOW for FREE!
1.Clearing the neuro pathways. 3 Wrist movements for neck tightness.
Keep this stance for all 3 wrist movements. Stand tall and laterally extend your arm to side at shoulder height. Look straight and set your palm position as if you are holding up a wall. Hold for 10 seconds. Next, flex the wrist down palm facing you. Hold for 10 seconds. Lastly, have your palm facing the wall upside down, finger tips facing the floor- keep flexed for 10 seconds.
4 Neck Movements for the cervical spine.
Exhale while doing each movement, keep your arms relaxed and by your side and hold each position for 10 seconds. Chin touches chest, chin touches right front shoulder and left front shoulder. Lastly, slowly look up and hold for 10 seconds.
2.Shoulder blades exercises.
Arms extended out in front of you with palms facing up. Slowly, extend through your finger tips and open up the chest by bringing the arms back as if the thumbs are going to touch the wall behind you. Exhale as you do the movement and focus on pinching the shoulder blades and not shrugging.
Second movement, arms extended out in front of you with palms together. Slowly, extend your right arm diagonally upward and the left arm diagonally downward. Palms should be opposites. The right palm facing up and the left palm facing down. Extend through your finger tips and imagine your right thumb is going to touch the wall behind you and your left pinky the wall below. Exhale as you do the movement and focus on not shrugging.
3.Reverse prayer position. Advanced stretch for chest, shoulders and scapular retraction.
Have your finger tips touch behind your lower back and bring them into a prayer position. Exhale and slowly walk your hands up to your mid back. Hold for 10 seconds.
The reality is that you are not going to give up your smart phone so it would be in your best interest to do these simple exercises that allow you to use your favorite hand held device. Invest in your health the same way you invested in your device, a few minutes a day may keep the doctor away. Your exercise prescription for this preventable condition is to pause and R.A.M.P!
Be well and stay ACTIVE!!!
Julio A. Salado., NSCA-CPT., USAW Coach
TRX & Kettlebell Certified Instructor