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Tania is currently the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Hudsucker, and Senior Editor at the Nashville, Tennessee based PopCulture.com. With past writing and editing credits with Womanista, Quietly, the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) and NBC Newsvine, she is currently a member of Indianapolis based, Society of Professional Journalists — one of the oldest organizations in the U.S. that promotes and represents journalists. She is an avid Indianapolis Colts, Elvis Presley and baseball fan as well as a lover of pancakes and fine cheeses, film, and music. Tania is a Hoosier at heart with a passionate wanderlust for always traveling and giving back to those in her community. She is currently studying at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Follow Tania on Twitter: @westlifebunny.

3 Negative Effects Excessive Screen Time Has on Your Body

{Image Credit: iStock}

Between work, travel or just relaxing at home, we can guarantee some of that time is devoted to your smart phone. With the way the world is, it’s no secret our schedules revolve around these devices on a constant basis as they provide us with efficient ways to communicate and stay on track.

However, with such affection comes an admonishing tale of pain, quite literally. Studies show a growing number of physical risks have been tied to excessive use of our smart phones. For years, we’ve heard of the effects they have on our emotional well-being, but now that’s being characterized by proof that smart phones make it easy to fall into bad habits that affect our health. 

Nearly two-thirds of Americans own a smart phone and chances are our attention is still on them even when it’s not ringing. From crouching in the dark, to typing novels of texts, to staring at it for long periods of time, our body pays for each bad habit we form around our devices in three  very alarming ways.

Stiff hands

Recognized by soreness and cramping radiating from the fingers, wrist and forearm, text claw is regarded as the new arthritis for tech enthusiasts. Because gripping and holding our smart phones constricts flexor tendons and the dexterity of our other fingers, motor activity can often cause pain in the muscles and tendons of our hands or arms over time. Moreover, excessive texting might find some seeing a decrease in grip strength. Like you exercise your body and move those muscle, consider your hands as well. Repeatedly stretch, move your hands around or utilize voice recognition and diction to aid in the completion of tasks.

Poor posture

Because of our habitual head-down position while texting or looking through social media feeds, we’re putting an intense and dangerous pressure on our spine. While that kid in Jerry Maguire said the human head weighs eight pounds, studies have shown it’s actually 10 to 12 pounds, which means gravity needs to be considered. Researchers discovered the further our neck bends forward and down, the greater the weight placed on the cervical spine, thus the emergence of neck and back pain. The extra weight can also lead to early wear and tear, degeneration, and possible surgeries. If you want to reduce the stress of this growing epidemic, keep your neck straight so your ears are directly above your shoulders and raise the phone to your eye level.

Eyestrain and irritation

Any activity that involves an active use of eyesight is bound to cause eye fatigue. And that means, staring at digital devices is a big one for so many of us. From irritated, dry eyes to headaches and fatigue, excessive use complete with straining and squinting can cause eye problems later in life, while presently decreasing daily productivity. For those seeking effective relief of eyestrain, blink, blink, blink. The more you blink, the more your eyes stay moist. Not to mention, it helps you refocus too. We tend to blink one third less when engaged with our smartphones or laptops. While you can also adjust your screen’s brightness and tweak text size or contrast, take breaks during the day and don’t be afraid to use eye drops. Doing so can relax your eye muscles and help you to refocus as well.

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