5 Health and Fitness Reminders to Watch Out for at Back to School : The rush of Back to School season is almost a tangible excitement – kids are pumped for a new year and ready to see all of their friends again, and parents are eager to breathe a sigh of relief knowing the chaos of summer is coming to a close.
Your preparation for a great school year isn’t quite finished when you’re done school shopping, meal planning, and coordinating the family calendar. Don’t forget these import health and fitness reminders for your family too:
You think your low back pain from sitting all day at work is bad? Try toting around a backpack all day that’s loaded with books, binders, and belongings. So many students face potential back pain and spinal compression problems – both from the load of the backpack they carry to and from school each day as well as the bad posture habits that form from hunching and leaning forward simply to counteract the weight of a heavy backpack.
Experts recommend students carry only up to 10% to 20% of their bodyweight in their backpack, and that parents make sure to help them avoid back strain and inflammation. Help your child stay organized so they’re not carrying unnecessary items in their backpack that add weight but go unused. Load heavier items towards the back, and make sure to adjust their backpack straps correctly so it correctly on the back (use a waist belt/strap too if the backpack has one).
Every mom knows that the school year brings its share of germ, bacterias, and viruses that seem to make their way around the student body. Give your child a fighting chance by starting off the school year right! Fortify your child’s immune system with a diet chock-full of fruits, veggies, whole grains, water, and lean meats.
The vital nutrients and minerals in those types of whole foods, as well as ditching processed and packaged foods high in sodium, sugar, and unhealthy fats, will equip your child with the muscle, bone, and brain-boosting strength they need for a great school year. Getting into the habit of wiping down commonly used surfaces with disinfectant spray/wipes will also keep you a step ahead of cold and flu season.
Making new friends, taking on new and heavier homework loads, balancing school again with a social life, sports and other extra-curricular – all these factors can quickly build into feelings of stress and anxiety for almost any kid (and their parent!). Keep a dialogue open with your child about their feelings and how they are handling the start of a new school year – even asking simple questions over dinner can get a conversation going.
Be mindful of bullying as well. If you notice your child withdrawing more socially and spending more and more time playing on their digital devices and less time engaging with friends in the real world, act on it. Start a conversation, check in regularly, and make sure to ask your child’s teacher (like at the fall parent conference) how your child’s behavior and classroom interactions are.
While the summer was rampant with outdoor fun, playing, and going to camp, the start of a new school year often leaves kids finding less and less time to actually play and be active. An hour a day of physical activity minimum is a must for kids, especially to help prevent diabetes, obesity, and other dangerous conditions down the line.
Many parents find an hour of play right when kids get home from school helps them unwind from the school day, reset their minds, and expend extra energy before dinnertime.
Parents need to continue exercising daily as well; don’t let a common fitness injury like IT Band syndrome hurt your ability to play with your kids – more info. Finding a family activity to do together in evening hours, like biking around the neighborhood, is fun and a great way to catch up on the day.
Get Smart About Sleep
Summer may have had its share of late nights staying up watching movies or hanging out with neighborhood kids, but success during the school year is largely dependent on regular, quality sleep. Reinstating a school-year bedtime, even up to 1 or 2 weeks before school starts is a must for parents and kids.
This helps everyone get back into a healthy pattern of getting enough rest to have lots of energy for the following day. Routine, quality sleep also helps keep your child’s mind sharp, prevents cranky attitudes, and teaches them how to stick to a schedule and prioritize their own health and wellness. And moms, if back, neck or foot pain is keeping you up at night, don’t put off getting your own treatment plans in place be they regular massages, ice and heat therapy, or sporting orthotic aids like insoles (see more info about insoles).
With the right health tips, wellness tools, and positive attitudes, your child’s school year will be a great success for them and you!
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