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CONDITION OF THE MONTH
SEPTEMBER 2008: Back-to-School
 
The end of summer means the beginning of a new school year. Students all over the Valley are thinking about academics and extra-curricular activities such as sports or band. We here at Dr. Peggy Kiser-Crouch's office would like to think students are also learning proper body ergonomics when doing these activities.

One of the biggest problems a student can have with regard to proper ergonomics is backpack usage. Ideally, an individual's backpack should not weigh more than 5 to 10 percent of his/her bodyweight. If your student wants to bring home every textbook in his locker, then he should distribute some of that weight to the front in his arms. Better yet, use a packpack with wheels and extending handle.

Backpacks should fit snugly against the students' backs, and not hang down more than four inches below their waists.

Always use both straps, preferably wide for a more comfortable fit. Never sling the backpack over the shoulder. (Click here or Scroll Down for Demonstration Photos.)

Gymbags can outweigh backpacks. The best way for a student to carry her gymbag is using the two shorter handles to tote the bag with her hand/arm. Another way, which is better that using only one shoulder, is to crisscross the long strap on the opposite side of where the bag will hang. (Click here or Scroll Down for Demonstration Photos.)

Since children begin using computers before they walk (well, almost!) it's never too soon to learn proper desk ergonomics. Parents should see to it their children have comfortable, well-lit computer areas. This starts with a good-fitting chair which positions the torso at 90 degrees as well as knees bent at 90 degrees with feet flat on floor.

Arms can have a 100 degree- to 90 degree-angle reaching the keyboard. Tilting the keyboard 15 degrees helps hands expend less energy while typing.

The screen should be angled 10 degrees to 20 degrees to user's eyes. The distance from head to screen should be 20" to 26". It is a good idea to take breaks periodically (set a timer) to give your muscles an opportunity to move and stretch. In other words, don't procrastinate and end up doing the research paper the night before it's due. This can strain your back as well as your brain. (Click here or Scroll Down for Demonstration Photos.)

Bleachers are some students' and parents' home-away-from-home. If you think it's hard down on the field or court, try sitting on an aluminum backless seat for two hours. There should be Olympic bleach-sitting.

Bleacher warriors can soften the blow by toting their own stadium seats. There are some comfortable styles out on the market these days. Remember to stand up to cheer occasionally in order to stretch...and cheer. (Click here or Scroll Down for Demonstration Photos.)

Our goal is to educate the public on good body mechanics to avoid strains and sprains. But, when life gets in the way, and your student really did do his term paper in one night, we here at Dr. Peggy Kiser-Crouch's office want to help, but not with the term paper. Call us if you need us.

 
BACKPACKS

These three students are off on the wrong foot for the school year. Hilda's heavy backpack weighs more than 10 percent of her body weight. Hopefully, some strong student will come down the hallway and help her up.
Tiny Tilda's backpack is dangling far below the recommended 4" below her waistline. Looks like she'll be joining Hilda on the floor.
Silda has incorrectly slung her backpack on her shoulder, allowing all the weight to be supported on one side. Silda's slumped shoulder will be sore.

 

These smart students have their backpacks positioned correctly. They are using both wide straps of their packs, and wearing them high enough on their backs. They get A's in Backpackology.

 
GYMBAGS
This student athlete will start the season already sidelined with an injury: strained neck and shoulder. She needs gymbag coaching: carry the bag in her hand using the two shorter handles. Another option, but less preferable, would be to crisscross the longer strap over the opposite side of where the gymbag would hang.
 
 
This athlete has followed her coach's advice: carry the bag by the two shorter handles, or crisscross the longer strap over her shoulder. She'll be the leading scorer on her team!
 
COMPUTERS
Doesn't this make your neck sore just looking at it? There are so many incorrect body positions these two students represent, we'll address them in the next picture.
 
Ah...proper computer ergonomics is a beautiful thing. Both feet flat on the floor, knees bent at 90 degrees, sitting straight with 90-degree back support. Arms bent 100 degrees to 90 degrees to reach keyboard. Monitor is 20"-26" away from eyes. Monitor screen is tilted 10 degrees to 20 degrees. Adjust keyboard to about 15 degrees. Keep track of time in order to get up to stretch every 30 minutes.
 
CLASSROOM
All four students have Failed!
 
BLEACHERS
Ouch! These spectators will be so sore they will probably go home at halftime. They can read about the game while they're at the chiropractor's office.
 
Fan-tastic! These folks are sitting with good posture. Using stadium seats is the easiest and most comfortable way to sit on bleachers. Stand up and cheer often in order to stretch while rooting for your team. This group has won their game of good game ergonomics.
 
 
 
 

 






























































































 
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