Parents: ever feel like you were more active than your children at their age? Instead of tablets and video games, do your childhood memories include late nights of tag with the neighborhood kids? Or invigorated water balloon fights, perhaps scraped knees and elbows from trouble on your bike?
It’s recommended that kids get at least 60 minutes of vigorous exercise daily– yet far too many fall drastically short of this metric. Between a rise in digital activities and increased screen use for education, young people’s lifestyles have become alarmingly sedentary.
Besides youth obesity prevention, passive behavior is also wreaking havoc on structural health, namely the ergonomics (or lack thereof) that these kids have. Without proper posture training and exercise, children today are put at a much higher risk for injury and long-term health implications from poor ergonomics during their sedentary times of the day.
Don’t worry: screen time doesn’t mean that your child’s health is doomed. Obviously, a complete departure from screen time isn’t feasible. Instead, it’s best to focus on quick, straightforward strategies to break up the strain on your child caused by a sedentary lifestyle.
Poor Posture, Chronic Pain
Think posture doesn’t matter? Think again.
Prolonged sitting, as in long days in a classroom and in front of the TV, can severely impact posture. Bad posture puts undue stress on joints and specific muscles, which can easily lead to chronic pain. When in a sitting stance, it’s also easy to hunch forward, usually toward the screen that is being viewed. This forward head positioning can put undue strain and stress on many muscles, contributing to shoulder and back pain and even more frequent headaches.
When the head is at a 60-degree tilt, a common position during phone and tablet usage, it puts up to 60 pounds of force through the neck! Combine this with frequent screen usage, and it’s easy to see how problems begin to emerge. And, when kids start this kind of sedentary behavior from a younger age, they could be setting themselves up for even more chronic pain down the road.
We know that getting entirely away from passive activities isn’t easy or plausible. Don’t worry! You don’t need to issue a complete screen time ban to protect your child from the less savory effects of a sedentary lifestyle. (We know this could be a cause for revolt inside your household, too!)
Instead, it’s time to employ some preventative strategies to help support their bodies better through those bouts of prolonged sitting.
Walking And Stretching Breaks
It sounds simple, but even working in occasional 10-15 minute walk and stretch breaks can make a big difference for the body throughout a school day. These reprieves infuse movement through the joints and help restore the mobility lost with a sedentary lifestyle. Whether it’s during a school day or a video game-marathon, set a timer and hold them to these breaks. They may groan at first, but we promise it truly is for their own good!
Standing Desk Options
Many adults adopt a standing desk for their workday to help combat passive lifestyle implications– kids should, too! A full day of class is indeed akin to a full day at work. A standing option naturally encourages more movement throughout a long day while still providing the necessary equipment needed to get schoolwork done.
Teach Mindful Posture
If your child can master holding good posture at a young age, they’re setting themselves up for future health success. As we all know, adults are sitting more than ever as well, so the earlier we teach our kids how to sit correctly, the better equipped they’ll be to move through everyday life with health on their side.
Chiropractic Treatment For Better Overall Health
Again, we know how difficult it can be to completely depart from a sedentary lifestyle for your child with increased screen options and daily education’s passive needs. If you’re concerned about your child’s long-term postural health, working in consistent chiropractic care from a young age can help to offset the less desirable outcomes from sitting.
A chiropractor helps treat the root of the problem from sitting: issues and misalignments within the spine. Gentle adjustments of the spine, neck, and extremities help decrease inflammation, relieve pressure, reduce nerve irritability, and ultimately allow the entire body to relax and restore proper movement. By working consistent chiropractic care into their routine from a young age, you could be setting them up for a better overall quality of life over the long-term. The gift of health is a generous one!
Don’t delay any longer. Schedule an appointment online or call us.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.