Have you ever gotten up from a long study session and discovered you could hardly stand up because of how much your back and shoulders were aching?
If you’re stiff and achy after sitting for long periods of time, you’re probably not taking regular breaks or sitting properly. Unfortunately, when you’re in school, sometimes long study sessions can’t be avoided. What can be avoided is back and neck pain. School is stressful enough without having to take care of a sore back.
Use the following tips to make the most of your study sessions without getting a sore neck or back.
Schedule regular breaks
When studying, avoid sitting for several hours at a time. At least once an hour, you should get up and take a walk, even if only to another room. This gives your eyes and brain a break, plus it allows your muscles to stretch.
If you’re the type of person that gets really absorbed with studying and loses track of time, considering setting an alarm on your phone. Whenever that alarm goes off, find a good stopping point and take a small break. Avoid using screens during this time so that your eyes get a rest.
Practice good posture
Next time you’re studying, consider how you’re sitting. Most people tend to sit hunched over their books or laptops. However, sitting hunched over puts unnecessary strain on your back and next. Instead of sitting hunched over, practice good posture.
Sit in a comfortable chair that supports your back. Your feet should be flat on the floor and your spine should align with the back of the chair. Sitting like this might be uncomfortable at first (especially if you’re used to sitting hunched over), but it is better for your neck and back in the long run.
Most people keep their computer screen lower than eye level, which forces them to tilt their neck downwards to look at their computer. Sitting like this for long periods of time can eventually create unpleasant kinks in your neck, which causes your neck to feel stiff and sore.
To avoid looking down at your computer, find a way to elevate your screen. Some computers have a way to adjust the monitor upwards. If your computer isn’t adjustable, create some sort of platform you can put the monitor on. The screen should be at your eye level.
An adjustable desk that allows you to move from sitting to standing can help improve your posture and relieve pressure from your back. Alternating between sitting and standing likes you to frequently change position, which can help keep tension from forming.
Most people are also in the habit of standing with good posture, even if they don’t always sit with good posture. Not to mention, standing burns more calories than sitting does—so standing while studying can help improve your overall health. However, keep in mind that standing for long periods of time creates extra pressure on your legs. You need to find a balance between sitting and standing.
Reduce tensions in muscles
There are simple stretches you can do to reduce the tension in your back and neck muscles. Whenever you take a break from studying, get in the habit of rolling your shoulders and lifting them up and down. This can help tension from building up.
To fully reduce tension in your muscles, consider incorporating yoga into your daily routine. Yoga comes with several health benefits, such as increasing your flexibility and increasing your blood flow. Yoga is easy enough to do in your dorm, plus there are online videos that can help learn different poses.
If you wait until the evening before a big test to study, you might not feel like you have enough time to take regular breaks. This results in you sitting in front of books or a screen for hours, which could eventually lead to a sore back.
If you start studying several nights before a test, you can break your study sessions into smaller chunks. This way, you won’t end up sitting for hours. Breaking up study sessions won’t just help your back—it could also help you retain more information and do better on your test.
If you regularly find yourself stiff and sore after studying, you need to find a way to improve your posture and release the tension in your back and neck. Alternating between sitting and standing can help, as can taking regular breaks that allow you to get up and stretch.
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