Racing to get the kids back to school? As the holidays draw to a close and the kids are heading back to school do you know how to choose the right backpack for your child. And how on earth do you know which brand of horrendously overpriced shoes will be the best fit? The back-to-school list of things can be overwhelming so here are some quick tips to help you make the right decisions.
Do you know how to choose the right backpack for your child?
There is a lot of choice out there, and just because a backpack may be more expensive it does not necessarily mean it is the best choice for your child. Looking after back health starts in childhood, so keep in mind these top tips from The Australian Physiotherapy Association:
- Choose a backpack with wide shoulder straps that sit well on each shoulder.
- Ensure waist and chest straps help transfer some of the load to the hips and pelvis.
- Look for a padded back support that will allow the pack to fit ‘snugly’ on the back.
- Ensure the backpack fits the child—don’t buy a big pack so your child can ‘grow’ into it—the pack should not extend higher than the child’s shoulders when sitting.
- Moderately weighted backpacks are not detrimental to kids’ back health.
- Avoid swinging backpacks around to reduce the risk of structural damage.
- Happily wave your kids off to school!
Horrendously overpriced shoes next on the list? Ever wonder how you can tell whether the shoe matches up to its price tag? You can tell a lot about how supportive a shoe is based on its design. When purchasing footwear, keep these four tips from The Australian Physiotherapy Association in mind:
- Make sure that the shoe has a firm heel counter (the little plastic insert used to reinforce the heel cup of a shoe). This is designed to hold the foot in place. Without firm support around the ankle, the shoe isn’t able to support the foot properly.
- Make sure that the shoe has good torsional stability. You can do this by taking hold of both ends of the shoe and twisting in opposite directions. There should be minimal movement. Torsional stability protects the foot from rolling in or out too far.
- Make sure the shoe bends in the right place. Squeeze both ends of the shoe together; it should bend at the toes where the foot naturally bends. If it bends in the middle, it can cause extra stress underneath the foot.
- Make sure the shoe fits correctly – too much or too little space will affect comfort and potentially cause blisters or the foot to move too much within the shoe.
After you’ve blown the budget on getting the right gear, it’s equally important to take a look at what activities your children are involved in to help them stay active, which in turn helps their general health, and plays a role in improving their concentration and academic performance, also helping reduce the postural problems that arise from long periods of sitting.
It is well known that physical activity across age groups improves health outcomes and reduces the risk of developing chronic diseases. The same applies to children. Research from The Copenhagen Consensus Conference 2016 (https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/50/19/1177) has noted that moderate physical activity improves cognitive function and academic performance of school children and importantly, that time given to physical activity in place of academic lessons is not too detrimental to school performance.
Being physically active increases heart rate and oxygen circulation to the brain helping memory function, improving sleep quality and reducing stress. These things help brain function and so it makes complete sense that children’s school performance will improve.
Kids can be active in many ways through organized sports, outdoor active play and looking at active ways of getting around including walking, bicycle riding or skateboarding.
While at school long periods of sitting and sedentary behaviour can lead to postural issues later in life for children. Long periods of sitting – particularly in slumped positions, elongates the muscles around the back and neck, leading to tight muscles at the front of the chest and shoulders. Over time this causes neck and lower back pain as well as headaches. Students who stand and move around regularly have improved productivity and concentration
With the summer holidays about to end it’s a great time to look at ways your kids can stay physically active, improve those school grades and reduce the likelihood of postural issues.
Hope this helps, Deb