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Help Your Body to Help Your Mind!

Make sure you are physically prepared for the return to school!

The return back to school can be mentally taxing for both children and their parents. However, it can also be taxing physically. In order to get your mind right to be prepared for the classroom, it is important to make sure that your body is also prepared for the return to school. This blog will cover three important aspects of physical health that affect performance in the classroom (and in the workplace, too!) – backpack weight, eye exams, and sports medicine. Read on to learn how to get prepared for an easier transition back to school!

One of the most difficult parts of transitioning back to school is dealing with fatigue. Many students complain of feeling tired or worn down when they get home from school, and you may be feeling this way after work as well. While you may instinctively blame this fatigue on a lack of sleep or diet (both of which will be covered in future back-to-school blogs!), another possible cause may be carrying a heavy burden – the burden of your backpack or work bag! Heavy bags have been associated with fatigue and muscle soreness due to having to carry the heavy load around all day and commonly slouching or leaning due to the weight. This causes short term effects such as a sore neck and lower back, as well as possible long term effects such as spinal degeneration due to the hunching. One way to offset the problem is to choose a supportive backpack rather than a messenger bag and wear both shoulder straps when it is loaded. Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a backpack weighs no more than 10-20% of a student’s body weight. A good rule of thumb is that if you are hunching or leaning forward due to the burden of the bag, it is too heavy. Now is the time to clean out your purse, work bag, or backpack and lighten your load by only carrying the essentials!

As children get older, you may notice them also beginning to struggle with school or experiencing headaches. These can be signs of vision problems, which is why eye exams are so important. Children can begin to get eye exams once they are four or five years old. It is especially important for young children to have their vision checked yearly as kids tend not to speak up about vision problems. Look for signs such as holding books or watching TV very close to their face, rubbing their eyes, or having trouble focusing. While many eye problems can be recognized at an early age, other people may be much older once they realize they have vision problems. For example, many college students may sit much further back in a lecture hall than they have in previous classrooms and realize they are having trouble seeing the board. This is why it is important to keep up on eye checks and consider choosing a seat in the front if you find yourself prone to headaches and squinting. Similarly, many adults (and students during remote learning) may experience tired eyes or headaches after looking at a screen for a long period of time. In these cases, it is recommended to take a 5-10 minute break away from your screen every hour. Another great option for those who spend much of the day looking at a screen is blue light glasses. You can wear blue light glasses while looking at phone or computer screens to help reduce eye strain and help sleep disruption. No matter what, detecting the problem early is key so be sure to keep up with your eye exams!

Getting your body ready to go back to school or work is especially important. From student athlete to debate team member to retiree to certified couch potato, GLIM has you covered with an in-depth nutritional assessment. GLIM practitioner Maureen Milota, APRN, is trained in sports medicine and will help get your athlete a competitive edge! Book a free intro call to learn more about how to optimize your sports performance!

Get ready for your best school year yet with GLIM! Book an appointment to learn more about the topics discussed in this blog and additional ways to optimize your physical health for both school and work. Also be on the lookout for more back to school blogs in the upcoming weeks!

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