Helping kids get more active with Straighten Up UK
Researchers at the Universities of Strathclyde and Newcastle** found that, amongst other things, some eight to 10-year-olds were active for only 20 minutes a day.
The British Chiropractic Association’s (BCA) own consumer research* shows that 47.9% of the UK population is currently suffering from back or neck pain and a lack of exercise and sedentary lifestyles are major factors in this.
Tim Hutchful, a chiropractor from the BCA, is all too aware of this problem.
“As a chiropractor, I talk to a lot of parents who are concerned about their children’s posture and the ‘health’ of their backs. Kids seem to need to carry so much more to school, do less physical exercise during the school week and then sit at home in the evening.”
As well as getting more active, tackling poor posture can also help.Straighten Up UK
for kids is a simple, three minute posture care programme from the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) in the UK, designed to help children feel and look their best. Straighten Up
consists of just three simple exercises which are intended to be completed on a daily basis to become a part of a daily routine, just like brushing our teeth. Easy to learn and do, the sequence of exercises consists of precise, slow stretches, each with a specific purpose.
The Straighten Up materials have been developed with both adults and children in mind.
As Tim Hutchful points out, “It is really important to emphasise that Straighten Up is something that kids can do easily each day. The characters, Abby and Jake, have been developed to demonstrate the exercises in a fun way and we really want parents to encourage their kids to Straighten Up; this is something they can do together.”
By promoting an active lifestyle as well as balance, strength and flexibility in the spine, the risk of problems arising can be reduced.
There are other things you can do by following the BCA Golden Rules:BAG IT UP
– A rucksack is the best option for a school bag as long as it is carried over both shoulders, with the straps adjusted so that the bag is held close to the back and weight is evenly distributed.KEEP IT LIGHT
– Make sure that all unnecessary excess weight is removed from the school bag for each day; check only essential items are taken into school each day. This is good advice for adult’s bags too!BEST FOOT FORWARD
– Good footwear is important; soft-soled shoes that are supportive and have a good grip will make it easier to carry a heavy school bag.EXERCISE
– Lack of exercise is a child’s worst enemy. Take regular exercise; the fitter a child is, the less likely they are to injure themselves.MOVE AROUND
– Staying still for a long time is bad for the spine. Limit time at the computer or watching TV to 40 minutes at a time. Get up and take a break – do something else for a while.COMPUTER POSTURE
– When using a PC or a computer console, be sure to sit comfortably with the spine supported. It can be difficult to recognise that a posture is painful if being distracted by the games!
To see the exercises, watch them in action here and you can also download or request a free leaflet.
Note: You may wish to check with your GP or chiropractor, before starting the exercises.
References** BCA research from January 2012, conducted by Atomik* www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0037975