Why Backpacks Matter
Backpack safety matters because more than 50% of children experience at least one episode of back pain before their teenage years, and backpacks contribute to this. Students from grade school to university need to carry stuff. That stuff used to be books and food, but now it often includes a laptop or tablet making it even heavier.
The amount people carry, the length of time it’s carried and how it’s carried all influence whether or not it is harmful to the body. With back pain being the number one cause of disability worldwide and neck pain third; how we carry stuff in backpacks matters. This article will cover how to safely use a backpack and also study tips and other health hacks students can use for better health.
Backpack Safety Tips
- Total backpack or shoulder bag weight shouldn’t exceed 15% of bodyweight and for usage over 20 minutes 10% is recommended. That means a 150-pound (68 kg) person’s backpack shouldn’t exceed 15 pounds (6.8 kg) ideally. For an 80-pound (36 kg) person that means a backpack should weigh 8 pounds (3.6 kg) or less optimally. Filling a water bottle when you get to school can help lower weight and improve backpack safety.
- Choosing the right backpack is important. Look for ones that can be adjusted to fit snugly to the body. Thick well-padded shoulder straps, a waist strap, back padding and pockets for things such as a water bottle, cell phone and keys are good.
- Load the backpack or shoulder bag evenly for better weight distribution and improved backpack safety. Wear backpacks using both straps, including the waist one. For shoulder bags or people wearing a backpack with one strap at a time, switch the shoulder you wear it on every five minutes.
- Sitting if done for too long creates strain and stagnation in the body. Set a timer for 30 minutes and each time it goes off get up and move. Use these breaks for a quick stretch or water break and you’ll find your focus and retention improve.
- Getting enough sleep (8 hours a night) helps improve immune function, healing and nervous system functioning.
- This will also help and improve memory and test performance.
- Caffeine can help us stay awake for late night study sessions, but it can come at a price if over used. Caffeine, found in beverages like coffee, tea, soda and energy drinks, stimulates the fight or flight portion of our nervous system. This branch of the nervous system can be beneficial for short periods of time. However, over longer periods it can lead to anxiety, immune weakening, lowered focus and burnout. Regular use of more than two caffeinated beverages daily is likely to be too much.
Best of luck this school year!
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