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Madeline Schrock on Wednesday, Feb 26, 2014
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Are you slumped over your phone as you read this post? Or perhaps you’re slouching on your couch with your laptop. Either way, handheld technology is increasingly prevalent in our lives. Though it’s great to pull up your class schedule on the run or check out the latest dance video gone viral, have you considered the toll your texting, tweeting, Googling and YouTube-ing may be having on your posture—and how that posture plays into your dance technique? Straighten up and get the lowdown.
A recent study at Hong Kong Polytechnic University looked at how the use of smartphones and other portable electronic devices, such as iPads, impacts our bodies. Researchers surveyed 1,049 people ages 10 to 50 and found that a startling 70 percent of adults and 30 percent of children suffered musculoskeletal symptoms as a result of their technology use. Neck pain was the top side effect, followed by pain in the shoulders and then wrists and fingers. Those symptoms are hardly helpful if you’re already prone to gripping the barre or holding tension in your neck and shoulders when you dance.
And, over time, the bad habits you develop outside of dance don’t mix well with the alignment you need in the studio. For example, if you’re used to poking your chin forward to read a computer screen, you’re likely to do the same in your pirouettes.
A few quick pointers: Enjoy the perks of technology, but be aware. Shake out your shoulders or stretch your head, neck and wrists between tweets, and do a posture check between Facebook posts to make sure you’re not slouching. Or, put down the tablet and hit the barre after you’ve gotten a video burst of dance inspiration.