If you’re reading this on your iPhone, chances are you’re not sitting up straight.
In fact, you’re probably in what Kiwi based physiotherapist Steve August calls the “iHunch” position (also known as “text neck”),
This position is detrimental to our body because when we lean forward 60 degrees or more to scroll through Facebook or Snapchat, our necks are forced to support the additional 5-6kg that our heads weigh, which increases the strain on our necks to a whopping 25kg!!!
This may explain why physiotherapists are seeing more teenagers with “dowagers” humps that used to only be seen on elderly women.
Turns out, your smartphone addiction isn’t just taking a toll on your physical well being. It’s also bad for your emotional health.
A study on the correlation between slouching and self esteem found that people who answered interview questions in a slouched position compared to an upright position gave more negative answers, had significantly lower self-esteem, mood, and a much greater fear factor than those sitting with good posture.
The “iHunch” may also affect our memory, based on a study from the Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy that divided participants — to those who were clinically depressed — into a slouching group and an upright group. Both groups were shown a list of positive and negative words and then asked to recall them. Those who sat upright recalled about the same amount of negative and positive words, but the slouchers recalled significantly more negative words than positive ones.
To protect both your physical body and mental health, keep your shoulders back and head up when using your iPhone. Regular back massage and gentle stretching can also help maintain elasticity and movement of the muscles. Lastly, yet most simply, become more aware of the toil that the “iHunch” takes on your mood, memory, and behaviour. Your physical posture sculpts your psychological posture, and therefore could be the key to a happier mood and greater self-confidence.