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Better back-to-school body mechanics

Better back-to-school body mechanics featured image

September means it’s time to head back to school. Make this year a successful one by helping students learn important healthy habits to kick off the year the right way. Renew Physical Therapy shares four tips for a healthy school year:

The Power of Posture

Many students sit for hours slumped over their desks and hunched over assignments. Kids need to understand that less slouching equals a healthier neck and back. Poor posture practiced over long periods of time put students at greater risk for discomfort and pain. Some helpful desk etiquette includes:

  • Relaxing the shoulders
  • Placing feet flat on the floor
  • Sitting up straight with the spine supported by the back of the chair with the shoulders back to support core muscles.
  • Aligning the ears over the shoulders with the chin tucked slightly downward
  • Making sure computer screens are at eye level

Move a Little
Even though much of the school day can be spent sitting at a desk, breaks are recommended at least once per hour. Get up and move periodically to increase blood flow and to reduce muscle fatigue.

Backpacks Are Heavy
Laptops, books, and school supplies are heavy. It’s important to avoid overloading backpacks or wearing it slung over one shoulder to prevent spine misalignment or muscle strain caused by overcompensation of the back and neck muscles. As a general rule of thumb, backpacks should not exceed 10% of the wearer’s body weight.

Use It or Lose It

During school, students are kept active with physical education classes or sports. Some students experience a summer slump of activity and it’s important to build some conditioning before jumping back into activity at full speed. Take the time to ease back into activity by:

  • Warming up for at least ten minutes prior to exercise
  • Stretching and cooling down post-activity
  • Engaging in a variety of activities to prevent overuse injuries
  • Participating in age-appropriate sports and activities