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Get your posture right

Experts advise one should not sit in the same posture for more than 30 minutes, reports Jaya Shroff.
By Jaya Shroff | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 21, 2008 01:56 AM IST

Next time your mother scolds you for loitering in between studying you can confidently tell her you have been prescribed to do so by an orthopaedic. Experts advise one should not sit in the same posture for more than 30 minutes.

When we sit in a position for prolonged periods of time, our muscles become tired and, therefore, relax. As a direct result, we end up slouching, and experts warn, if we remain in this slouched position for a long period our ligaments become overstretched and can cause pain.

“Especially during board examinations, teenagers are prone to developing back fatigue and upper back pains due to prolonged sitting. The child is prone to developing muscle and neck pains, which can further lead to headaches,” says Dr Sanjay Sarup, children’s orthopaedic specialist, Max Healthcare and Sir Gangaram Hospital. “It is always advisable the child takes short breaks when he can stretch himself, relax before getting back to study again,” he adds.

All doctors advise children should always study in breaks. “In fact, it helps rejuvenate a child. It is good for the muscles as well as for the eyes,” says Dr SY Kothari, head of department, physical medicine and rehabilitation, Safdarjung hospital.

Never study on the bed
Similarly, lying on the bed and studying may sound tempting, but experts warn while it may sound like a comforting option, the position is very bad both for the eyes as well as for the neck. One tends to feel sleepy, loses concentration and even the eyes are often under tremendous load because of proper light and little distance from the reading material. Dr Kothari says it is best to avoid reading while lying on your back, stomach, or side.

“A lot of children have a tendency to sit on the bed while studying. In most cases, they stoop while they read or do math calculations. This posture is not only harmful for the back but also tires the child more easily,” warns Dr Sarup.

Use good lighting
Make sure there is good light on close work tasks and good general room light as well. Illumination should be positioned so as to avoid glare from your reading material. A light positioned behind and over ones shoulder works well for reading.

Right way to hold your book
Tilt your book so that it is raised up about 45 degrees from the desk. This positioning aids in achieving good posture and reducing eyestrain.

Always exercise
Doctors say that some amount of exercising is absolutely essential during board exams as it not only helps the muscles relax but also refreshes the mind. “Most children put on anywhere between 5-7 kilograms after their board examinations, as all they do during the time is eat and study,” says Dr Kothari. Doctors say some of eye and back exercises are a must.

Sleep right
After a long day of studying it is most essential that you have good night’s sleep so that you wake up fresh and recharged. “We always advise children to sleep on a two inch thick cotton mattress placed on a hard surface,” says Dr Kothari. Just how right amount of sleep on the correct surface helps you get rid of all the unwanted fatigue, a bad bed could worsen situation and cause further muscle pain.

Back pain or muscle cramp
Never take any medicines. Doctors advise that it is best to apply analgesic pain relievers to the local areas and massage for a little while. “Back exercises, like the nauka asana is very good and provide quick relief,” says Dr Sarup.

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