BY JANE HURST
It is the start of a new semester. You are running around gathering supplies and clothes to get ready to go back to college. One thing you are probably not thinking about is your back health. Surprisingly, back health should be on the top of your list. Over eighty percent of college students have back problems. The way you sit and what you carry will either help or harm your back. Here are seven tips to keep your back limber and strong.
- Wear sensible shoes
This is one of the most important steps when dealing with your spine. You might be looking at the latest styles in dress shoes and heels, but you should be looking at shoes that support your back. You will be walking around campus most of the day and you will need strong support for you spines. Good shoes are supportive and help keep the spine aligned. When you walk, your feet should remain steady and not roll to the side. This will help prevent injuries to your back. Save the heels for special occasions and be comfortable while you are walking around.
A good spine is a supple spine. Stretching your spine will keep it limber and flowing. Yoga will help to stretch and strengthen your spine. During school you will be sitting in class for an hour and a half. When your stand up after sitting in class, you should do some yoga stretches that will help your spine realign.
- Ditch the Backpack
Backpacks, when used incorrectly, can throw your spine out of whack. Never over pack a backpack and make sure you are wearing the backpack correctly. It should be worn on the back with the straps adjusted correctly, not over the shoulder. If possible, ditch the backpack all together and only carry what is necessary for your class.
- Core Exercises
“Your back is supported by strong diaphragm and abdominal muscles. These muscles comprise your core muscles. If your core is strong, your back is less likely to get hurt,” says an expert from Upstate Spine and Sport. Walking and swimming are good exercises for your back; however, you should include core strengthening exercises in your daily routine.
Since students can be confined to their desks for upwards of an hour and a half, it is important for you to move and stretch when you can. You should stretch and walk a bit between classes, even if your next class is in the same room. Movement will help your spine stay limber.
- Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Lying down at night helps your back realign after sitting, standing, and walking all day. Be sure you have access to a good mattress and pillow. Be sure the mattress and pillow align with the way you sleep. As tempting as it may be to sit up and pull an all-nighter, your spine will not thank them in the morning.
- Sit and Stand up Straight
One very important thing to keep in mind is your posture. When you are sitting and looking at your phones or slouched on the couch watching television, you are putting pressure on their spine. Having a strong core will help encourage good posture, but you have to be aware of how you are sitting and standing. If you slump, they will end up with a sore back.
Back problems can cause you to miss school and be in excruciating pain. If you have back pain that persists, it is important that you see a doctor as soon as possible. Be sure you are exercising and practicing good posture. Remember to stretch and walk around to loosen your backs. And, lose the backpack. Only carry what is necessary when you travel around campus. Follow these tips and you will have a pain free school year.
Jane Hurst has been working in education for over 5 years as a teacher. She loves sharing her knowledge with students, is fascinated about edtech and loves reading, a lot. Follow Jane on Twitter.