How often do you find yourself telling your teenager to sit up straight or to stop slouching? Unfortunately poor posture in teenagers is very common and can be the result of numerous contributing factors. For example these can include a rapid height gain, body image issues due to body changes and/ or playing on computers and mobiles phones and therefore not doing enough exercise. Habits can form very quickly and poor posture early on in adult life can lead to problems later on.
A significant cause of postural problems can be carrying a large, heavy school bag full of text books and P.E. kit. Whilst it is often essential for teenagers to carry these weights, the bags they use are often far from ideal. Things to consider when choosing a school bag include the number and thickness of the shoulder straps, the size and shape of the bag and of course, how it is being worn. Ideally each student should carry a rucksack with a strap on each shoulder that is tight enough so that the bag sits in the lower back (rather than behind the knees!). A waist strap done up snugly is very useful for distributing the load and a wide should strap is also more comfortable. One-shoulder bags and ‘handbags’ should definitely be avoided.
It goes without saying that it is also best to carrying the essentials only and if possible leave heavy things at home or in a locker. The weight of a school bag should be no more than 10% of a child’s body weight.
It is important that children and teenagers do not develop asymmetrical postures or movement patterns so any bag which does not have two shoulders straps should be avoided.