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Is Your Backpack too Heavy? 

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Students backpacks weigh too much. According to experts, this could be a major problem. Ever wonder just how much your backpack weighs? The average backpack of an AHS student weighs about 20 lbs. (average collected by weighing 3 random student’s backpacks).  However, when I wake up in the morning and attempt to pack the contents of what is necessary for my classes in one bag, mine weighs 25 lbs.  This means that, in total, Ashland High School’s student body of  1,030 people totes around 20,600 lbs,  more weight than a male elephant.

The suggested weight of your backpack should weigh from 10% – 20% of your body weight, and no student should carry over a 25 lb. backpack whether or not their bodyweight is higher.  On red days, I carry a Math, History, and Anatomy textbook.  If you add this to the extra weight of my binders and supplies, my backpack weighs 5.4 lbs more than it should. (To see how much your backpack should weigh, and more information click on the link at the foot of this article)

Problems occur when students adjust their posture and stride to their heavy load. This strain on the teenage body is beginning to take its toll. Reports from Montclair education show that more than 10,000 annual visits to the doctor’s office or emergency room by school-aged children are backpack-related.

Florida Hospital Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation suggests that you weigh your backpack once a week to make sure that you’re not exceeding the suggested weight for your backpack.  In all seriousness, who has time to weigh their backpack every week?  If you’re the average Ashland High School student, your academics and extra-curricular activities won’t allow you any extra time to weigh your backpack.  What would you do if your backpack exceeded the weight limit anyways? You are surely not going to remove a required textbook for the class you have that day from your backpack, and then say to your teacher, “My backpack was too heavy according experts and their suggested weight of backpacks, so I took it out.”  However, There are things you can do to lighten the load.

-          Get a two strapped backpack

-          Get a backpack with wide straps

-          Get a backpack that doesn’t extend below your low back

-          Get a backpack that has many compartments so you can evenly distribute your things

-          Get a backpack that is made from lightweight material.

-          Don’t carry more loose leaf paper than you need for that day

-          Try to stand up straight when you walk

-          Set you bag down when you can

-          Remove unneeded items from your bag everyday when you get home from school.

If you can’t afford a new backpack, there is one simple solution: get a locker! We have a 10 minute passing period in between classes for a reason; you have time to go to your locker, use the bathroom, etc.  And for those who are too lazy to walk up a flight of stairs or across the quad to their locker, I see some back problems in your near future.

Click for a suggested backpack weight calculator

Click here to read more about backpack weight from Montclair Education

or here for information from Florida Hospital Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation

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About the author: Katie Mallory

I've lived in Ashland all of my 16 years, and most likely for the rest of my life. Once you're in there's no getting out. This is my third year of being a cheerleader at AHS. I'm the "flyer", or the small person that flies through the air and does fancy tricks and flips, and I love the rush. I love sports in general, and I'm usually one the sidelines of any game that is ever happening. I love to read books, not the boring nonfiction ones, but the ones that aren't true and sadly won't ever be true. I play guitar and sort of slaughter the violin at best. I have a dream of becoming and ophthalmologist, the complicated word for an eye doctor, which evidently requires eight years of schooling. In the end hopefully I'll make bank and move to one of the massive homes atop the highest hills of Ashland.

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