For many of us, it’s rare to go a day without using an electronic device like a smartphone, tablet, computer or TV. These tools may improve our lives, but they can also compromise health. Adopting beneficial habits will ensure your tech use is more helpful than harmful.
1. Remember to Blink
When we stare at a screen, we blink less, which can cause dry, red eyes and blurred vision. “Consciously remembering to blink can help reduce those symptoms,” says Dr Cassandra Chung, an optometrist. To alleviate strain and help re-focus, look away from your screen at a spot 6-7m away every 20 minutes.
2. Keep Moving
Movement improves oxygen and blood flow to muscles, which is why sitting hunched over or in the same position for extended periods is unhealthy. “Clench your fist,” says Daniel Zybutz, a chiropractor. “That’s what your shoulder muscles do when you’re at a desk with your head down.” Taking a break every half hour to walk around and stretch your muscles for two to three minutes, will help ease neck and shoulder pain.
3. Don’t Distract Yourself
Some people find it agonising to be disconnected from the online world – especially in public – but psychologist Dr Peter Farvolden cautions against “obsessive monitoring”. Constantly checking email and social media accounts on your hand-held device can be addictive. “A good way to determine if something is problematic is to see if you can stop doing it.” Try going without your phone for a day or more and gauge your response.