Happy Wellness Wednesday, friends! This week has been quite a whirlwind filled with lots of sitting, standing, walking, and heavy lifting. Actually, now that I think about it, there probably isn’t a day that goes by when my students and I aren’t sitting for long periods of time or lugging around ridiculously heavy and unevenly distributed bags. While increasing my daily steps and toning my arms are certainly a plus (suns out, guns out, amirite?), the severe tension I feel from my neck and down to my toes is so painful, I can hardly move some days without wincing. It also doesn’t help that most of the stress we carry is in our shoulders and neck, so adding tension to an already injured body sounds like a recipe for disaster. The more we load on ourselves, the more back problems will have in the not too distant future. There has to be some way to relieve this pressure and pain without shelling out money for weekly massages, right? Right! Here are a few things worth trying to give your body some much-needed rest and recovery, and they all start with making a change!
Change your backpack. While tote and messenger bags are both super fashionable, they aren’t as back and shoulder friendly as we’d like or need them to be. Look into investing in a backpack in a lightweight material with a padded back and two-inch wide shoulders, a waist belt, and multiple compartments. The North Face Recon, SwissGear ScanSmart, and Patagonia Refugio Pack 28L are a few faves.
Change your load. Use your locker when you can and try to complete most of your work at school. When taking items home, try to make sure your backpack weighs at most 15% of your body weight and is as evenly distributed as possible. Place the heavier items in the center of your bag closest to your back, and use all compartments, but don’t overload it. When picking up your backpack, bend down at the knees and grab with both hands when lifting to your shoulders. And when wearing your backpack, be sure to tighten both shoulder straps snugly against your body.
Change your body. Stretch out the kinks and practice intentional yoga. Here’s a lengthy but super effective yoga video with poses to help reduce back and shoulder pain.