Don’t let a video game get the better of your back
People are chasing Pokémon everywhere, with the beneficial side effect of becoming more active. On the other hand, players of Pokémon Go, the hit new Nintendo game, are stumbling into real-world people and objects, and have been involved in injuries from traffic accidents to falling off a cliff.
However, the larger health risk for most people is Pokémon Posture, warns international posture expert, Dr Steven Weiniger (bodyzone.com). Walking while obsessing over capturing virtual monsters adds to the real world problems familiar to frequent texters, computer users and others suffering from tech-neck, he believes.
“When the people walking towards you see the top of your head instead of your eyes, you have Pokémon posture,” he says. “Walking while facing down and focused on the game trains muscles to push your head forward and roll in your shoulders which folds your body into a ‘C’. The postural problem is aggravated because your arms are made to swing when you walk, but Pokémon posture locks the arms to throw Pokeballs, and folds the chest towards the pelvis.”
The solution, says Weiniger, is to connect with your real world body with attentional focus exercises that strengthen your posture.
Try these simple tips:
- Stand taller and lift your device up
- Move your eyes instead of your head so you can shift attention more quickly to see where you’re going (and avoid hazards)
- Engage your core by pulling your belly in
- Open your chest by rolling your shoulders up, then back, then down
- Level your torso by pulling elbows slightly forward of your torso as you lift your device
- Stack your head in line with the torso by facing forward and pulling your head back