How To Conquer the School Backpack Problem

Summer is coming to a close and our kids will be heading back to school soon.  Here are a few tips to conquer what has become a big concern: the heavy school backpack.

First of all, let’s hope the kids are putting those books to good use and not just carrying them around unopened, collecting dust bunnies! If they do have to carry the books around, let’s look at it from the positive side. Carrying a backpack can be a great exercise. Across our society we see and hear about our youth getting less and less exercise…less P.E. and outdoor play and more time spent on the computer, playing video games, and watching TV. The SAID principle (Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands) states that the body responds to the demands that are put on it. Provide resistance and the body will develop the muscles and strategies to move it. In this instance, the resistance is the backpack. While they may be big and heavy, backpacks can provide a bit of exercise for our children after hours of sitting in class. However, it is important for the kids to have the muscles to support the weight.

To help your child develop the strength and muscles to handle the heavy-load, incorporate the following exercises into their daily schedule:

Bridges: lie on your back with your knees bent and arms to the side, lift your bottom up off the ground as high as you can. Hold this position for 30 seconds. For increased difficulty put your arms in the air as shown in the photo. Still too easy? Try extending one leg and supporting your weight on one leg for 30 seconds.


Prone plank: Support your weight on your toes and elbows suspending your body off the ground. Keep your spine straight. Hold for 30-60 seconds.



Lunges: Hold a stick or dowel rod behind your neck, keep back straight, step forward and go down into a lunge position, return upright. Repeat 10 times on each leg.


Here are some additional tips for handling that heavy backpack:

  1. Only carry the books you need.
  2. Perform some squats, backbends or other stretches before carrying your bag.
  3. Use both shoulder straps and the waist strap if the pack has one.
  4. Tighten the straps so the pack sits tightly against the back.
  5. If the backpack seems too big or heavy, take two books out and carry them under your arm. This will help counterbalance the weight.
  6. If you are walking long distances take breaks and put the pack down.
  7. Don’t run with your backpack on.

For more specific answers about your child’s backpack or other concerns, invite your questions and comments.

5 Run Tips BEFORE You Start Training

Whether you are just beginning to run or you are a veteran marathoner, proper training techniques are essential to your running success. Here are five tips before you start your run training program:

  1. Footwear:  A key ingredient to running success and injury prevention is is the right pair of shoes.   I recommend buying your shoes from an establishment that deals with runners specifically.  There are several reputable retailers in the Metairie and New Orleans area that can help you find the shoes best designed to accommodate your individual needs.
  1. Have a plan: Everyone has heard of the “terrible twos”.  In the running world it is the terrible “toos”, referring to too much, too soon, and too often. If you have an established plan for your run/ workout you are less likely to fall victim to the “terrible toos”.  Fortunately, you have a great coach in Chaz Caiado and a proven NOTC running program that we feel will be specific, efficient and effective in helping you achieve your goals.
  1. Warm-up: Before beginning any exercise activity proper warm-up is imperative.  I recommend a dynamic warm-up when preparing for your run.  Here is your dynamic warm-up.
      1. Cool Down: Cooling down and stretching after your run is as important as your warm-up.  So be sure not to skimp on this.  It is at this point where you are going to benefit more from the static stretching.  Stay tuned for our next post which will include the Cool Down video.
      1. Listen to your body: It is so exciting when you start to get the hang of the running thing that often you don’t want to stop.  Don’t ignore the signs. Pain that you feel during activity and pain that lingers after you have stopped that activity is indications that you may be in the beginning stages of injury. If this happens do the following:
        • Give your body a break. Take a couple of days off to rest. Then try to return to running. If the pain is gone, gradually resume your prior running schedule.
        • If not, contact us! That is what we are here for. To give you the advice you need to keep you on the road and on your way to race day.

That should be enough to get you started!  If you want a little jump start on your training, you might consider BRIOFIT, our strategically planned, highly-evolved, full-body training program. Join Team BRIO’s performance specialists for comprehensive workouts aimed to improve how you feel, move and perform. BRIOFIT will add vitality and energy (BRIO) to your life. Contact us today to get started!