Your eyes blur and you fight off a pounding headache as you reread the passage. Your fingers cramp as you attempt to read the answer choices. Your brain foggy, you give up, guess, and move on to the next question as the pain in your lower back forces you to twist about in your chair.
You’ve all experienced (or will experience) the discomfort of taking standardized tests. Yet the culprit may not be just the pressure or the stress level of the tests you’re taking.
See the picture above? Looks familiar? Here is a typical posture of any motivated student (or possibly a slacker wasting time on the Internet), one that causes so many problems in our health. Such posture results in one’s backbone to grow asymmetrical, causing any muscle tissues in the near region to either stretch or shorten.
Pain in the shoulders, neck, low back, elbows, and wrists are all possible side-effects of poor posture. Frequent headaches can also result from excessive tensions in the muscles. Studies have found that it may even worsen depression and stress levels. And if these symptoms don’t scare you enough to make some changes in your habit, consider this: bad posture immediately reduces oxygen levels in brain cells, interfering your ability to think and focus. To put it simply, it makes you slightly dumber. As a student, there can’t be a worse side-effect.
So take a moment and see if you have a bad posture. Chances are, you do. To avoid releasing the aforementioned symptoms onto your body, here are some guidelines to improving poor postures.
- Make sure your back is fully supported by the back of the chair.
- Your spine should maintain a vertical or slightly angled position.
- The distance between your knee and the desk should have sufficient room so that you can scoot in closer to the desk.
- If you’re using a laptop, place the monitor within the range of your eye level (slightly above or slightly below).
- Take regular eye breaks by looking at objects far in distance.
- Take study breaks either by standing or walking around.
- Take regular stretch breaks to relieve any muscle strains.
Below are some simple stretching exercises that will help you relieve muscle strains. Try them. It may ACTUALLY make you smarter!
As much as it’s comfortable to slouch at your desk, make sure to take a break once in a while! Stand up, take a stretch, etc. Better now than never!
– Eunice Na (’17)