As you’re reading this, you’re probably on your computer. And you’re also texting your best friend. Oh, and you’ve got the latest episode of Game of Thrones on the TV because your DVR queue is starting to get out of hand (and because you cannot afford not to talk about it tomorrow at work).
Or maybe you’re at work and it’s been a long day and you’re just trying to take a break. Chances are though you’re still plugged in and using more than one device.
A report from Nielsen shows that the average American adult is spending a whopping 11 hours per day on their devices and gadgets. That’s a pretty big number when you factor in that most people are usually awake for 16-18 hours per day.
But what toll is that taking on you body? Turns out those constant, repetitious movements can wreak havoc in the long term if you’re not taking the right steps. Here are five things you can do to treat your body better if you’re constantly plugged in.
Take mini breaks if you’re at a desk all day
This isn’t the same as your 15 minute break your employers give you. After one hour at your desk, take one minute to simply stand up and get the blood flowing. You don’t have to leave your workstation but that one minute can give your body the break it needs to keep going.
Stretch, stretch and stretch some more
Use that mini break to do a few stretches! You don’t have to touch your toes but give a few of these a try:
- Half neck roll – Tilt your head back and keep your eyes on the ceiling and slowly move your head from left to right five times. Then move you head down with your chin to your chest and repeat the same left to right movement five times.
- Air circles for your hands – Make a fist and stretch your arms out in front of you and make ten circles in the air. Then shake out your hands
- Give yourself a hug – Place your left hand on your right shoulder and your right hand on your left shoulder. Take five deep breaths and feel the tension ease away.
Yes, this is a very real thing. The average human head weighs about 11 pounds which can really place a burden on your spine when it’s constantly looking down. Instead, try keeping your phone at eye level or keeping your neck straight and only use your eyes to look down at your phone.
Use the 20-20-20 rule
If you’re on your computer or phone (or really any electronic device), give your eyes a break every once in awhile. A good rule to follow is the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes look at a fixed object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Adjust your workstation
You might be sabotaging yourself if your workstation isn’t set up appropriately. The three areas that are easiest to address are your seat height, monitor distance and elbow position. Your chair should be positioned so that your hips are about level with your knees and you may need a footstool for this to work well. Make sure your monitor is at least an arm’s length away. Lastly, adjust your armrests so that your wrists are straight and your hands are at or below elbow level.
It’s that simple. Put a few of these tips into action and your body will surely thank you later!