Well… judging by the change in traffic patterns around the city… it must be back to school time again. (oh and the countless adverts on TV and in stores around town!)
With back to school comes a time to think about how school impacts us. This short list I’ve compiled is not meant for one age group in particular, and many of the lessons still apply after school. If you’re a parent of a young student on their way to grade school or high school, a student entering University or College or a teacher/Professor I think you will find some useful tips to ponder below.
So as we get off to school let’s do it in a healthy manner:
- Coffee is not an all encompassing breakfast! This one is directed more towards the University/College students (I HOPE!). Getting a balanced breakfast will actually help you hold your attention better (at all ages) in those sleep inducing first period classes.
- Kitchen tables (and beds) are not the same as a desk. The ability to focus on studies will often be made difficult by distractions. Get to a quiet space and use a desk of appropriate proportions to your body. Standing desks, standard desk… whatever works, with the appropriate seating and lighting of course.
- Wear an appropriate back pack. Hey… you had to expect this one from a Chiropractor! A properly fitted back pack, with two shoulder straps, actually worn on their shoulders. If you want it checked bring them in with their back packs, happy to have a look.
- Carry only what you need. In University/College You’ll get a list as long as your arm of recommended reading materials. This does not mean you need to bring those textbooks with you at all times, obviously. (In fact… speak to your professor… they may tell you to not waste your money on certain textbooks, but to sign them out of the library instead when needed). In this digital age it may not be as much of an issue mind you… but on the same point, tech gear will add up in overall weight as well. This is not simply for the older students… the little guys carrying those big backpacks will often have extra “stuff” not required for their day. Clean them out daily!
- Healthy snacks while studying. As we start to have exams that require hours of preparation, or long hours delving into studies and assignments, the diet at times go out the window. (I know this from experience; Doritos and Coke are NOT what I recommend!). Best bet for students is to plan ahead and have snacks ready to go. Healthy snacks like chopped raw vegetables, almonds and water (or infused water with fruit for taste) will help to keep your focus.
- Movement during study breaks will re-energize your tired mind. Don’t sit for hours straight hovering over books or a computer. Take regular breaks that include some form of exercise. Walk around the block or building, take a half hour away at the gym, do a combination of body weight exercises in your room. Getting up and keeping moving will keep you focused, alternatively use an active seat, like a fitness ball, and rock on it to keep yourself mobile and nourishing your mind.
- Use your laptop sparingly… as a “Lap Top”. In lectures or on the go a lap top is great. Using a lap top on your home study station is not great. Make yourself a makeshift docking station. Put the lap top on a riser, or stack of old textbooks, plug a keyboard and a mouse into it and you have yourself a much better set up. Raise the monitor up so that the top 2-3 inches of the monitor are in line with your eyes while seated upright in a good posture. Your body will thank you later (you too Mom and Dad!).
Best wishes to all those heading back to school, keep the above tips in mind and you’ll have a body and mind ready to accept what those teaching you have to offer.
Yours in health,
Dr. Matt Lindsay, DC
Aligned Chiropractic – Burlington, ON