Attention all bookworms! Let’s pack for your back!
On your marks… Get set… GO! Let’sseehowmanybookswecanreadasquicklyaspossiblewithoutstoppingforbreathinbetween!
And breathe… Yes, it’s that time of the year again for us book lovers. Book Week 2019 is being celebrated this August (17th-23rd) and it’s time to get prepared. For some of us, this might mean we’ll be reaching for an epic page turner for the first time in ages, or it might just be a great excuse to read an extra one (or two or three) books that week. For your children attending school, there will likely be several activities they will be taking part in to recognise the event, which means they’ll have one or two more books they need to carry in their school bags. As if they didn’t have enough already right?! You might be starting to think, why is my physio posting a blog on book week? Well, let us explain.
Let’s face it, who doesn’t like grabbing a book, a mug of tea, a few biscuits, your favourite blanket, and snuggling down into your favourite armchair for endless hours of reading? OK, so it might not be for EVERYONE, but we love it, and for those that do too, it may mean being stuck in the same position for hours on end whilst your head is in your book and you become too engrossed in the story to realise you are straining your neck. And what about your kids? Their school bags are already heavy from packed lunches, sports kits and textbooks, and now they must take in their favourite books to read in class too. Just think what all that weight is doing to their developing little frames as they drag their backpacks around the school yard. We’re here to give you some sound advice on how you and your family can stay safe and healthy this book week. Although the advice stretches to the other 51 weeks of the year too.
We’re all for snuggling up in your favourite chair or lounge to read a book. We just want to make sure that you aren’t putting yourself at risk of injury from being in the same cramped position for hours on end — and that’s not taking into consideration the possibility of falling asleep in the same spot either. If this happens, you might need to reconsider your book choice! To ensure you aren’t straining your neck and back whilst reading, try the following:
- Sit comfortably, but try to sit straight (this is achievable, honest) to keep your spine aligned
- If you do adopt a different position (i.e. lying down or curled up in a foetal position) make sure you move regularly to give your body a break from being in one position for too long
- Take regular breaks from reading to give your hands, shoulders and neck a rest
- At the end of a chapter, get up and do some stretches, squats, lunges or whatever else you enjoy doing (this includes grabbing a well-deserved cup of tea)
- Remember to attend to necessary life requirements like talking to family members, cooking dinner, and sleeping (hopefully not because your book is boring though) – yes, this one is tongue in cheek (although a reality in many cases)!
When sending your kids off to school with backpacks in tow, there are some important things to remember to keep the pressure off their backs and shoulders (remember this also applies to adults too — they are not immune to the effects of heavy baggage either). Try these:
- Always wear BOTH straps - a single strap might look cool and be convenient to sling over the shoulder, but it will increase strain down one side of the body leading you to a possible postural imbalance
- Tighten the straps so that the backpack sits above the waistline (avoid letting it hang below the waist)
- Tighten the straps enough to limit side-to-side swinging of the bag on your back when walking - if you have a chest strap, this will also help to reduce swinging and keep the straps in place
- If you have a waist strap, this can help to spread the weight of the backpack over the pelvis and hips, whilst reducing load through the shoulders. You rarely see a hiker not wearing their waist strap, so why shouldn’t you? After all, carrying around a heavy backpack for most of a school or working day, repeated five days a week, can take its toll.
- Follow the recommended backpack weight guidelines of no more than 5-10% of a person’s bodyweight (an average 11-year-old weighs around 36 kg, so ensure their backpack weighs no more than 3.6 kgs)
If you follow the above advice, then you are taking positive steps towards keeping you and your family safe and reducing the risk of injury. If you would like further advice or have woken up with a stiff neck after a hefty night of reading, please call us to book an appointment. We will ensure you are the turning pages pain and risk free before you can finish the synopsis (you know, the bit on the back of a book that we sometimes forget). Oh… And keep your waistline healthy by only having one or two biscuits please. We know how moreish they can be! #longlivebooks
- The Children’s Book Council of Australia. 2019. CBCA Book Week [Online]. Available from: https://cbca.org.au/news/cbca-book-week-2019. [Accessed 10 July 2019].
- National Safety Council. 2019. Back Pack Safety: It’s Time to Lighten The Load on Our Kids. [Online]. Available from: https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/safety-topics/child-safety/backpacks. [Accessed 10 July 2019]
Uploaded : 23 July 2019