Spotlight: Take a break while online

We are sitting more than ever before during the pandemic.

And one group that is facing the challenge is students who are going through online classes. What would be the impact of this new lifestyle compared to the energy they would have spent in regular school days?

While international and private schools have been going through online classes, the national schools are set to open the schools in November. As the normal outings are impossible in the current scenario, parents are on the lookout for different ways to keep up children’s physical activities.

Students not only use online facilities for schooling, it is used for coaching classes as well as extra tuition classes for school subjects or hobbies. But this is also the case for adults working from home.

“When you sit in a particular position for long hours one does develop problems as muscles become stiff. So you might have stiffness in your neck, legs or back. The impact is similar to traveling in a transcontinental flight more than 10 to 14 hours. In addition because the laptop is used continuously there is a strain on the eye as well resulting in eye itchiness, watering eyes and has difficulty in vision after a couple of hours of work”, saus Dr Dilip Singvi, Specialist in Internal Medicine.

“My advice is to take a break after every hour. Get up from the chair and move about so there is a circulation of the blood again. This will keep the muscles in shape and in tone and will not become stiff. Should also give break to the eyes from constantly looking at the screen. In between they can wash their eyes and freshen up their face.”

Preferably they should take a break every hour as this will prevent long term damage. Initially many children had this problem when online classes had begun and the schools had to reduce the hours children working on laptop from six hours to four hours for this very reason. It is very important that we should educate children what cautions they should take while studying online

“Cycling is one of the best ways to keep fit,” says Mohammed al Obaidan who is the chairman of Oman Triathlon Committee.

According to him, cycling has become so popular that the market is almost running out of cycles.

“Cycling is more than a sport as it works on their personality – they learn to be responsible not just for their safety but also care for the safety of their siblings. It is not just a skill they learn but also the ability to focus. All kids should learn cycling using all the safety gear,” he says.

He is of the opinion that cycling will become part of life and routine.

“What are the options they have for a swimming pool or cycling. Covid-19 has changed the world for sure. There is hardly any place to go and cycling fits in perfectly.”

But all outdoor activities must now come into a conclusion by 8pm.

Parents continue to experiment and this is what one mother, Sharadha Krishnamurthy planned out for her son as she expressed her concern, “It is definitely concerning – both the increased screen time and excessive sedentary behavior should not persist into adulthood. I have put my son on a very healthy eating plan and attends online fitness class under a personal trainer for an hour, thrice a week and he also does his cardio workouts for an hour during rest of the days.”

What children have been missing out not just on physical fitness but social aspects too.

“On the social front, we make sure he is connected with his friends, cousins and grandparents through video calls, celebrating birthdays and other special days. We engage him with his favourite pastime – baking. Of course as parents we try to spend time with him and playing cards is the new family time. Challenging times, but we are managing okay,” she says.

Each family has been finding their own formula to tackle the COVID-19 days.