The bag It is an essential complement to going back to school. In it, children and adolescents transport books, snacks, clothes, etc. every day. But being overweight and / or wearing it the wrong way can cause back discomfort of the little ones. Choosing the most appropriate is not difficult, but you have to know what to look for. To do this, ABC Salud has consulted Dr. Helena Bascuñana, a rehabilitation physician, member of the Board of Directors of the Spanish Society for Rehabilitation and Physical Medicine (SERMEF). «You have to look for a backpack that is as ergonomic as possible. The area that rests on the back has to be padded, the suspenders should be wide (like four fingers) and the ideal is that it has a belt that is tied at the waist. The more tight it is carried, the better the weight is distributed so that it is not harmful to the back ”, explains the expert, for whom this option is more recommended than backpacks with wheels. But the key message, in his opinion, is that what is necessary is carried in it so that it weighs “as little as possible.” «It should not exceed 10-15% of the total weight who is wearing it, ”he recommends.
In addition to back discomfort, carrying too much weight “in the long term can cause the child or adolescent to have one size smaller than it should, “warns the SERMEF expert consulted. “We Spaniards have improved in size because nutrition has improved, but also because child labor has disappeared. Child labor had an influence on the fact that children carried a great load of weight with consequences on their height, and now this situation can occur again with the weight of backpacks, which in some cases is very high, ”warns Dr. Bascuñana.
Nor should this weight limit be exceeded when using a backpack with wheels. Although many parents think that it is the best option to save their children carrying the load, and thus avoid back discomfort, to meet that expectation is betterpush them than drag them. “With a weight it is always better for the back to push than to pull. Like shopping carts. It is the same principle “, says Dr. Bacuñana, who recalls that another of the drawbacks of these wheeled backpacks is that, if there are stairs inside the school,” the children end up lifting the backpack in a more difficult situation, raising it with one hand and causing the weight distribution to be worse, with the risk of generating pain in the back ”.
The correct way to lift a backpack on wheels when there are obstacles is to either put it on your back, if it has handles, or «take it with both arms and close to the body as if it were a baby ”, recommends the rehabilitating doctor.
Daily physical exercise for body and mind
Another recommendation of rehabilitation doctors for a healthy return to school is to prioritize physical activity in children and adolescents every day. Not only to keep the muscle in shape but because it “improves cognitive performance.” «The muscle releases hormones called myokines, which have receptors in the brain that help to improve memory. That is why the recipe for taking a good exam is to sleep well, have breakfast an hour before and walk to the exam, “says the SERMEF spokeswoman.
As for the frequency with which children, and not so young, should move, Dr. Bascuñana is clear: «At least one hour a day, at least three days a week, although the ideal is that it be seven days, they have to play sports, either in a structured way (tennis, football, basketball, ballet, dance …) or through the free play in the street (ball, catch catch, jump) ». In the case of adolescents, it is advisable to choose a group sport “because it performs better than the individual one.”
Maintaining an active lifestyle goes beyond the practice of a punctual intense exercise, you have to use your body to walk whenever possible, climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator or organize family walks in the countryside on weekends of week.
We tend to be sedentary. We sit too long during work hours and often mistake mental fatigue for physical fatigue. So when we finish at the office we can’t wait to get home to sit on the couch. Nevertheless, “when you leave work very dull, the best thing to improve that feeling is to take a walk. You have to move your legs. The muscular structure is an organ that functions not only as a support, it also produces hormones that act at a distance ”, concludes Dr. Bascuñana.