Summer is nearing the end and that means so long to summertime hiking, biking and swimming, and hello to back to school book reading, screen staring and desk sitting. In the classroom, proper posture can be difficult to maintain. Heavy backpacks, sitting for long periods of time and hunching over computers can all take a toll after a while. Not surprisingly, the harmful effects of poor posture and strength can lead to more serious aches and pains down the road.
Next time you sit down at your desk consider this: Your head carries the most important organ in your body—your brain. The human head weighs on average between 10-11 lbs (that’s the size of a heavy bowling ball!) so it’s important to make sure the head and neck are supported throughout the day in order to avoid pain and dysfunction. The neck is comprised of vertebra, muscles, ligaments, arteries and nerves and it needs to be strong and adaptable to carry that weight around all day long.
Keep these quick tips in mind to ensure that you maintain proper posture throughout the school year. The greater focus placed on strengthening and activating these muscles, the easier it will be for these good postural habits to become second nature!
When sitting, try to keep your feet on the ground. This keeps your lower back and core in a good position to avoid stress and pressure along the rest of the spine.
Keep computer screens and reading materials in front of, and level with your eyes. This will help you avoid prolonged bending at the neck as well as reduce eye strain and potential for headaches.
Position your shoulders in a comfortable resting place when working at a desk or chair with arms. If it feels like your shoulders are up in your ears, that can put a lot of stress on your neck and potentially create problems down the road.
Making these small adjustments in the classroom can be simple and effective. Postural changes can help you avoid injury but remember that sitting posture comes from the combination of muscle strength and activation. If you have any questions, please come see one of our skilled physical therapists so they can better examine you and get you on your way to a successful start of the school year!