Are you racing to get the kids ready to go back to school? The school holidays are drawing to a close and the kids are heading back to school, but do you know how to choose the right backpack for your child? How do you know which brand of horrendously overpriced shoes will be the best fit?
Shopping for Back to School
The back-to-school essentials shopping list can be overwhelming. We have compiled some quick tips to help you make the right decisions and take the stress out of back to school shopping.
Choosing the right backpack
We are spoilt for choice when it comes to school backpacks, but just because a school backpack may be more expensive, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best choice for your child. Looking after back health starts in childhood, so keep these top tips from the Australian Physiotherapy Association in mind when shopping for a school backpack:
1. Choose a backpack with wide shoulder straps that sit well on both shoulders.
2. Ensure that backpack has waist and chest straps that will help transfer some of the load to the hips and pelvis.
3. Look for padded back support that will allow the backpack to fit ‘snuggly’ on your child’s back.
4. Ensure the backpack fits the child. This means, — don’t buy a big backpack so your child can ‘grow’ into it. The backpack should not extend higher than the child’s shoulders when sitting with the backpack on their back.
5. Moderately weighted backpacks are not detrimental to kids’ back health when fitted correctly.
6. Try to avoid swinging backpacks around to reduce the risk of structural damage to the bag.
7. Confidently wave your kids off to school knowing they have a well-fitting backpack to start the new school year.
Choosing the right school shoes
Have you ever wondered how to determine whether the quality of expensive school shoes matches up to their hefty price tag? You can tell a lot about how supportive a shoe is based on its design. When purchasing school shoes, keep these four tips from The Australian Physiotherapy Association in mind:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
Once you have confidently purchased those back to school essentials, it’s is equally important to take a look at the extra-curricular activities your children are involved in to help them stay active. Being active helps their general health, plays an important role in improving their concentration and academic performance, and also helps reduce the postural problems that arise from long periods of sitting.
It’s well known that physical activity across all age groups helps to improve health outcomes and reduces the risk of developing chronic diseases. Research from The Copenhagen Consensus Conference 2016 (https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/50/19/1177) noted that moderate physical activity improves cognitive function and academic performance of school children.
Being physically active increases both the heart rate and the amount of oxygen circulating to the brain. This can help memory function, improve sleep quality and reduce stress.
Kids can be active in many ways through organized sports, outdoor active play and active transportation; including walking, bicycle riding or skateboarding.
Children often experience long periods of sitting and sedentary behaviour while at school. This can possibly 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. This can lead to tight muscles at the front of the chest and shoulders. Over time, this can cause neck and lower back pain, as well as headaches. Students who stand and move around regularly are likely to have improved levels of concentration and productivity.
The summer holidays are almost over, so it’s a great time to look at ways your kids can stay physically active, improve their concentration in class and reduce the likelihood of postural issues.
At Move Better for Life, our focus is on keeping you fit and healthy. If you’re in pain, feeling unmotivated or looking to improve your overall wellbeing, we are here for you. Our team of physiotherapists, occupational therapists and exercise physiologists will help you achieve your physical health goals.
Depending on the current circumstances, we can assist you within the comfort of your own home or face-to-face.
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