Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: September 4, 2018
We’ve written a number of blogs on how younger kids can keep their spines healthy when they go back to school this fall, but it dawned on us that we haven’t written a similar set of tips for the college-aged crowd. Keeping your spine healthy and thriving in college takes some work, but if you know what activities to partake in and which ones to avoid, we’re confident your back will be injury-free. We share those tips in today’s blog.
Stay Physically Active
We know that it can be difficult to juggle your school work, a part-time job and physical activity, but don’t ignore physically challenging your back on a regular basis. Carve out time to go for a run, hit the gym or just play volleyball on campus for a half an hour. Physical activity builds muscles, helps facilitate blood flow and keeps structures working as they should. You may not be able to find time every day, but try to exercise at least 30 minutes 3-5 times a week.
Posture In Class and While Studying
We can’t stress this enough – please pay attention to your posture when you’re sitting in class or while you’re cramming for finals. If you’re slouched in your chair, leaning forward to read or not in a supportive seat, your spine is going to take the brunt of the stress. Since you’re probably going to be in that chair or desk for a while, this means extended periods of stress on your spine. Try to have good posture when in class or while studying, and when applicable, get up and move around every 30 minutes or so to keep your body relaxed.
Similarly, be conscious of your head position when you’re on your phone, iPad or computer. Oftentimes we find ourselves leaning forward, and the weight of our head ends up putting abnormal pressure on our cervical spines. Try to have your phone more out in front of you than in your lap, and be cognizant of your head position when in front of a screen.
It may be easy to grab some junk food in between study sessions or to unwind with an adult beverage after an exam, but your diet plays a significant role in your spine health. Junk foods and foods with excessive sugar contribute to inflammation in the spine, and that can cause discomfort if vital structures are compressed. Similarly, excessive alcohol can damage blood vessels and weaken certain spinal structures. As is the case with almost anything in life, balance and moderation is key.
Smart Backpack Use
Finally, be smart about how you pack and wear your backpack. Try not to overload it, as a backpack should never weigh more than 10 percent of the wearer’s weight. Plan ahead so you only bring what you need in your backpack. Also, be sure that you invest in a durable backpack with two straps that equally distributes weight across both of your shoulders. Wearing your backpack incorrectly over just one shoulder can lead to muscle injuries and strains, so be sure it’s worn right and isn’t too heavy.