It is hard to believe that we have to start thinking about back to school for the kids. This months newsletter is looking at proper fitting backpacks for children. Also taking a little glimpse at some developing bad habits.

1. How to ensure backpacks are safe for your child`s back

Kids are heading back to school! That means many of them will be walking and carrying their backpacks to class filled with books and homework. As exciting as this time of year is, it’s important to remember those backpacks can actually cause back pain if they’re not worn or packed correctly. This school year, we have your back when it comes to backpacks! Here is a short guide to help ensure your child is carrying their backpack correctly and safely.

Packing It Right

If your child was assigned ‘a ton’ of homework –it’s important that they’re only carrying between 10 to 15 percent of their body weight. Spreading out the load evenly in the backpack will also help reduce the strain on your child’s back, neck and shoulders. Talk to your child about proper packing:

  • Heavier objects closer to the body, with light or odd-shaped objects furthest from the back.
  • Only pack what is needed for the day / evening; leaving the rest at home.

Wearing It Correctly

Kids want to look cool and fit in with the crowd. Throwing a backpack over one shoulder casually may look good, but it can have long-term effects on the back such as changes in posture and walking habits. Show your child how to wear their bag properly, and instruct them about the possible risks of wearing it improperly and the effects it can have on the back:

  • Make sure your child is wearing both shoulder straps
  • Wearing a pack on one shoulder can cause leaning to one side, which could curve the spine over time
  • Adjust the straps so they fit close to the back –if it’s too loose it’s more difficult to achieve balance.

How to Shop For a Backpack

When you go out to shop for a new backpack, bring your child so you can ensure it fits. The American Chiropractic Association 3 recommends the bag should never hang more than four inches below the waistline. Bigger is not necessarily better. Look for packs that fit your child well so they can’t carry more than necessary, and note added compartments that can help them pack awkwardly shaped objects more efficiently. The straps should be padded to provide less painful support on the shoulders, and should be adjustable. Hip and chest belts can transfer some of the backpack weight from the back and shoulders to the hips and torso.Let your child try on different backpacks in the store to ensure it fits them correctly, thus preventing strain on their back or shoulders

2. Have you heard that sitting is the new smoking?

There’s no sugar-coating it: North Americans sit a lot. Two-thirds of the North American workforce sits for all or part of their workday. When you don’t adjust your posture frequently enough, you’re more likely to experience discomfort while sitting—and you’re inviting a whole host of other musculoskeletal problems along with it.

Today, on average, sitting takes up more than half of an adult’s waking hours. What’s worse is that, according to Mayo Clinic cardiologist Martha Grogan,

“for people who sit most of the day, their risk of heart attack is about the same as smoking.”

Based on current trends, researchers predict the number of hours we spend sedentary will likely increase.

There are other health risks that come from being more sedentary: prolonged time spent while sitting or reclining can tamper with your glucose levels and your metabolism. It’s also a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. The good news is that if you break up those long periods of sitting, you can reduce your risk of having diabetes, heart disease, or stroke.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada recommends at least thirty minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity—such as brisk walking or bike riding—at least five days out of the week. If you work Monday to Friday, consider adding a few steps to your commute, or taking two 15 minute walk breaks each workday.

Here are some more helpful tips to help break up your sitting time:

  • Create a schedule to remind you to stand up and move. Programming your day can help you stick to something you may otherwise forget to do. A good goal is 5–10 minutes of activity per hour. For example, if you have a job that involves sitting most of the day, plan to spend five minutes every hour up from your chair and moving around the office (like getting 2, walking around the building, or taking a restroom break) and spend the other five minutes doing stretches.
  • Walk around on your lunch break. Invite coworkers from your office to go for a walk with you at lunch. You can check out a nearby park or take a new route around the neighbourhood.
  • Park further away and walk. Whether you’re running errands or parking at work, you can choose to park further away and walk those extra few steps to your destination.
  • Walk around the house while talking on the phone or during commercial breaks of your favourite show. You might find other opportunities throughout the day too!

Little changes can go a long way to improve your posture and decrease a number of health risks. Whatever method you choose, you can also use the Straighten Up Canada app and Fit-in15program to find small exercises you can do during the day.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, make an appointment for treatment so we can help you out.

Phone: (519) 472-8700 or