I’ve heard a lot of talk about the Millennial Generation lately. Recently I read an article in the New York Post about how millennials are turning into a generation of hunchbacks because of technology. I may have even written a column in the past about technology and the negative posture results from technology. It’s called “tech neck.” It’s a serious postural problem.
Tech neck is also known as forward head syndrome. It’s a very painful condition caused by slumping over tech devices for hours every day. It causes the neck to lose its natural curve and creates imbalances in the upper body. The upper back muscles stretch out and the chest muscles tighten making the head feel at least 10 pounds heavier than normal.
Years ago only the middle age or older adults showed this type of posture. Now younger generations growing up with smartphones, tablets and other tech devices are showing this poor posture. A 2016 study by research firm, Influence Central, confirms age 10 to be the average age an American child gets their first smartphone.
Speaking of Millennials, have you ever wondered what generation title you fit into? According to Wikipedia, there are seven generation titles. The Lost Generation were born between 1883 and 1900. The G.I. Generation were born between 1901 and 1924. The Silent Generation were born between 1925 and 1942. The Baby Boomers were born between the early 1940s and the mid-1960s. Generation X were born between the mid-1960s and the early 1980s. The Millennials were born between the early 1980s and the mid-1990s. Generation Z were born between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s.
Whatever your generation title (I’m a Gen X’er), if you’re having postural issues because of tech devices, here’s a few exercises chiropractic doctors and fitness trainers recommend.
Upper trapezius stretch. Sitting forward in a chair, place your right hand on your head so your fingers extend down toward left ear. Place your left hand under your left buttocks, sitting on your hand. Use your right hand to pull the head gently down moving the right ear towards the right shoulder until a stretch is felt on the left side of your neck. Hold for 30 seconds and then repeat on other side of neck.
Scapular retraction with external rotation. Stand up tall with chin tucked in and your arms at your side with palms facing forward. Pull your shoulder blades close together and down. Keep your elbows straight and turn your palms and arms away from your body so that your thumbs are pointing backwards. Hold this position for 10 seconds and then relax.
Be conscious of your posture and work to maintain or even improve it. Here’s to your great posture.
Jonathan Souder is the Fitness Director at Manor House, an Acts Retirement-Life Community in Seaford, Delaware. This column appeared in the April 26, 2018 edition of the Seaford Star.