For many children and young people sitting in a classroom or at a desk at home brings about back and neck pain. As schools and colleges across the UK get ready for the start of another year, here are six ways you can help your child avoid poor posture every day of their school life.
Vary where you sit in the classroom. Continually angling the head or craning the neck to the left or to the right can cause poor posture and bring about discomfort. If possible, change seats for different lessons to sit sometimes on the left of the classroom, sometimes on the right.
Try to ensure the height of the chair is appropriate for the height of the desk to promote good posture. Your feet should be flat on the floor and your elbows should be in an open position with your wrists and hands straight and supported by the desk. Click to read our tips for arranging a computer work station.
Take breaks from sedentary activities. Encourage your child to move around in their breaks between lessons, rather than simply moving from one seated position to another. Joining a sports club will help keep them off their behinds in their lunch break or after school.
Take care with your posture when writing. We have a tendency to slump forward with the upper back and neck when resting on a desk to write. This poor posture overuses muscles and increases the load on the cervical spine.
Where possible – and where it’s safe to do so – encourage your child to walk or cycle to school. The benefits of moving more are widely known and a short walk to school, as opposed to sitting in a car or on a bus, is a healthy way to start the day.
And be aware of how much weight your child is carrying daily. Encourage them to get a locker at school or college and only carry around what they need for their next lessons. It’s worth spending money on a sturdy backpack that, when worn with both straps, will distribute the weight evenly across the back. Or if your child studies a subject that requires a lot of kit, consider getting them a wheeled case. Read more on our tips for bag carrying.
So you’re heading off on holiday. A chance to relax, unwind and take a break from the old routine.
Exercise probably isn’t top of your holiday agenda. But if you’re taking a course of physiotherapy or osteopathy, it’s important not to let your good efforts slide, particularly in the case of strengthening or rehabilitation exercises.
The exercises our physiotherapists and osteopaths suggest to patients are intended to enhance the treatments they provide when you come to see them. Wellbeing doesn’t take a holiday so it’s important to find time to keep up with your exercises while you’re away from home.
Make your exercises a part of your holiday routine. Find a time that suits you, be it before breakfast, or before you head out for the day. Or how about taking a break from the sun during the hottest part of the day and coming inside to do your exercises?
Here are seven more ways to stay active and take some gentle exercise while you’re on holiday.
Go exploring. You’ll be amazed by how many steps you can clock up during a day’s sightseeing. Use a pedometer to keep track – many pedometer apps also tell you how many calories you’ve burned.
Take a walk along the beach. Walking on soft sand requires more effort, working your muscles and tendons and burning more calories.
Swim. If your holiday accommodation has a swimming pool, make use of it. Swimming is a great form of all round exercise – and half an hour in the hotel pool can help you work off some of the calories in last night’s three course meal!
Take advantage of the activities on offer. Most hotels and apartments have daily group fitness activities such as water aerobics in the pool, a guided trek into the hills or a walking city sightseeing tour.
If you use weights for your workout at home, improvise by using filled water bottles in place of weights. We also like this No Weight Workout you can do without any fitness equipment.
Can’t take your regular fitness DVD away with you? Take your tablet and use YouTube for fitness routines you can follow in your room.
Stay motivated with fitness apps. Download a fitness app to your mobile phone or tablet before you go away. Apps like Power 20 offer 20 minute workouts, or how about Pocket Yoga for a more chilled toning session?