If you are like us and you let your kids have some more screen time over the holidays, just keep an eye on their posture. They may have been excited to have some extra time playing Minecraft, Candy Crush or Skylanders or watching Youtube but you may have noticed after a couple of days they have complained about a sore neck, upper back or shoulder. Generally this is due to holding positions like this for long periods of time with no breaks. Holding these positions can cause muscle tightness, pain and headaches – something we don’t want when school starts!
Your child may describe neck stiffness, muscular tightness around the neck and shoulders and/or pain throughout the back and shoulders also.
Here are some tips to help your child avoid these issues:
1.Maintain Neutral Postures
Excessive bending or slouching through the back, or alternatively sitting extremely upright, can cause strain on the neck and back muscles. Try to sit upright but relaxed, with your head relatively inline your shoulders and a slight inwards curve of the lower back. Avoid any twisted positions – the shoulders and hips should face the same direction.
2. Vary positions!
Even the most optimal posture is detrimental if held for long periods of time. Encourage regular breaks (standing every 30 mins) and a small walk around every one hour. Slight changes to the seated position regularly is also very important – this often comes naturally to maintain comfort, but when your child is ‘in the zone’ with their game, try linking changes in position to events that occur in the game (e.g. every save point, every new round/game/level, every ‘death’) which will help with adherence and forming new positive habits.
3. Stretches and movement
In addition to having regular breaks, it is beneficial to include some specific stretches and movements to your daily routine to ensure good spinal mobility and optimal muscle length of the muscles of the neck and upper back (see below).
At Nextmove Physio our team really believe that movement is key for our patients to reach their physical goals. What you won’t find at our clinic are patients lying on a bed hooked up to a machine for 15 minutes while the physio goes from one room to the other doing the same thing. Instead we offer expertise and a facility to help you move freely without pain for the long term. We think our Vario machine is great for exercise rehab and overall fitness because:
- It adapts to your own gait technique – other cross-training machines have a set path that may not suit your gait style, and could possibly cause further issues with your back, hips and knees. The Vario allows you to stride in a very similar way to your normal jogging or running, which optimises your return to that activity.
- It is low impact – running is great exercise, however sometimes we make errors with our training, overloading ligaments and tendons causing injury. Or you may have some ongoing ankle, knee or hip joint problems that flare up with jogging or running on hard ground. The Vario is like running on a cloud! It can be used as the transition to running as a part of maintaining aerobic fitness, or as a workout in its own right.
- Whole body – the Vario is a great full body workout as you can also use your arms as well, which can decrease shoulder stiffness and improves your calorie burning efficiency – more weight loss bang for your buck.
- Boutique wellness studio environment – you don’t have to worry about exercising in a busy, loud, sweaty room with all the cardio equipment packed in on top of each other. We only have a maximum of three in our wellness studio at any given time giving you plenty of space. With our Sonos sound system linked with streaming music (Spotify and Pandora), send me your favourite playlist of the moment and we will happily play it for you when you come in!
- Great media options – exercising with high intensity is hard, but rewarding. Make the time go fast by listening to your own favourite song or podcast (iPhone and USB connections) or watch any channel of live TV on the 35cm screen.
Feel free to give me a call at our Hillarys clinic on 9307 1244 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a tour and free trial as I would love to have a chat about achieving your health and wellbeing goals!
Stay tuned for our upcoming video series that includes our Vario machine plus other great physio information from the team at Nextmove.