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Day 9 - Are you addicted to your Phone?

Do you find yourself checking your phone first thing in the morning before even getting out of bed? Are you messaging while driving or scrolling through Facebook or Instagram instead of working? Do you find yourself aimlessly checking your phone during a romantic dinner? Are you constantly itching to pick up your phone in the middle of your Natural Walking practice?

Apple’s most recent meta-data statistics for usage (October 2017) reveals the average user swipes 2617 times in an average day, unlocks their phone in excess of 80 separate occasions and approximately every 12 minutes. Data also suggests 60% of Australians are connected to the internet for an average of 18.8 hours per day and that we underestimate the time we spend on our devices by 50%.

A study, conducted by Flurry Analytics, shows U.S. consumers actually spend over 5 hours a day on mobile devices. Other studies revealed that the excessive use of mobile phones can affect your mental, physical, social health wellbeing. Chronic slouching over one’s phone for hours can ruin their neck, ears and hurt their back muscles, as well as cause migraines. “Looking down at your phone can add up to 60 pounds of pressure on your spine, depending on the angle. Tilting your head forward puts a strain on your neck and back which results in a permanently disturbed posture and puts a lot of stress on your neck, shoulder, and cervical spine, which can turn into chronic back pain in the long run,” the research says.

People bend their necks at around 45 degrees, when they use their phones and it becomes even worse as they sit impacting their spine. The spine is the basis of posture, if your posture is bad, your spine can be misaligned. Spinal misalignments may cause interference in nerve function. They may develop "textneck" a modern age term coined by Dr. DL Fishman, a US chiropractor to describe repeated stress injury and pain in the neck resulting from excessive watching or texting on hand held devices over a sustained period of time.

Cell phones might also be hazardous to our sleep, with the latest evidence suggesting that individuals with smartphones in the bedroom sleep less each night. The reason, according to Daniel Gahungu, a general practitioner at Polyclinique de I’Etoile in Kigali, is that phone-related activities stimulate our brains and keep us alert, as the type of light emitted by most modern phones and influence over our sleep patterns. “When we use our phones during bedtime, we realise consciously that it is time to sleep. Our bodies however absorb the blue light emitted by screens and this can confuse the daily sleep-wake cycle which we are used to, leading us to feel wide awake when we should be sleeping,” he says.

Our Tips for Improving Posture and minimising the impact of mobile phone use

  • Hold your cell phone at eye level as much as possible. The same holds true for all screens—laptops and tablets should also be positioned so the screen is at eye level and you don't have to bend your head forward or look down to view it.

  • Take frequent breaks from your phone and laptop throughout the day. For example, set a timer or alarm that reminds you to get up and walk around every 20 to 30 minutes.

  • If you work in an office, make sure your screen is set up so that when you look at it you are looking forward, with your head positioned squarely in line with your shoulders and spine.

  • Use apps such as What's App Web in place of What's App on your mobile

  • Allocate a time of day to reply emails using your laptop/desktop instead of constantly throughout the day

  • Make use of the Audio Call button when you can over texting

  • Allocate a time of day to reply emails using your laptop/desktop instead of constantly throughout the day

  • Use the microphone button to record and send your message instead of typing

  • Try not to touch your phone during any meal times and focus on enjoying your meal

  • Do not use your phone during Natural Walking because it will give you almost no result at all from your practice

  • Place your phone away from your bed at night and invest in a real alarm clock

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