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Proper Posture in the Classroom

Sunburns, summer reading, school supplies, and slouching? Before you know it, summer will be coming to an end. The back-to-school commotion is increasing, and the last thing anyone needs are backaches.

Proper posture in the classroom is extremely important. Kids and young adults spend most  their time in the classroom during the school year, and when they’re not behind a desk or playing a sport, they’re usually hunched over a keyboard or “chill-axing” in front of the TV, their Xbox controls or engaged in other forms of technology.

Washington Post fitness columnist, Lenny Bernstein, quoted Todd Galati, Director of the Academy for the American Council on Exercise, in his article by stating, “Today’s youth, just like today’s adults, tend to spend a lot of time at computers.” With the amount of time spent hunched over a keyboard a lack of core stability begins to develop, along with a “hunched-over, head-thrust-forward look.”  Due to shortening in the front shoulder muscles and chest, tension increases and muscles in the upper (behind the shoulders) and lower back elongate, creating less tension.

As we lean forward and peer into that computer screen, the same elongation occurs in the neck muscles. Galati also states that “having your legs bent under a desk all day shortens your hip flexors and psoas muscles, which attach to your pelvis and lower spine.” Strengthening and increasing flexibility of these muscles is an important aspect for good posture.

Proper posture facilitates breathing. Our brain requires 20% of oxygen to function properly; therefore, more oxygen flow to the brain increases concentration and thinking ability. Good posture is beneficially for your body – and your image! As a teacher, one of the most important obligations you have is to have control over your classroom. Poor posture nonverbally communicates to your students that you are uninterested, unkempt, and more or less weak. People with good posture are portrayed as more confident, attractive, and powerful. Lastly, good posture helps avoid health complications. Over time, poor posture can lead to risks of slipped disks, poor blood circulation, chest pressure, and back pain.

Posture is partially a learned behavior from the ages three to five. It is crucial (for teachers and parents) to demonstrate proper posture for their kids. It’s a “monkey-see, monkey-do” concept that will benefit others and yourself at the same time. Click here for more tips and info on how to improve your posture. 

Classroom tips:

  1. Take an Exercise Break—come up with a fun and easy stretches and exercises to get kids up and moving.
  2. Stability Balls —replace desk chairs with stability balls to promote core strength during daily routines.
  3. Proper backpack and workstation alignments.
  4. Recess Time is Your Time —If you’re not on recess duty try taking a brisk walk, practicing some yoga in your quiet classroom, or some simple “at-desk” workouts. Take a look at these video guides for ideas!

If you interested in receiving more information, call SCPT today at 508-832-2628!

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