Good posture can improve brain power, fight stress among students, says Physiotherapist Shweta Dhamani Keswani

Good posture can improve brain power, fight stress among students, says Physiotherapist Shweta Dhamani Keswani

Illustaration Hasan Zaidi/ Free Press Indore: Examination is a stressful time for students and parents. Almost every third student complains of pain in hand while writing for three hours during examination. Physiotherapist Shweta Dhamani Keswani having experience of handling similar cases in India as well as the US answers some of the common questions to help students during exams.


How can students increase concentration with right posture?

A good posture is the one in which all the vertebrae of spinal column are in perfect alignment with each other, maintaining natural curves of the spine. When such a posture is assumed, the body is relaxed, there is better blood circulation to the brain and no extra muscle work is needed. This prevents muscle fatigue, neck and back pain and headaches. Thus, child will be able to concentrate on studies better. To assume good posture ..

– One must provide foot stool to ensure feet well-rested on a firm surface

– Lower back support to maintain a good lumbar curvature

– Chair and table height adjustment so that elbow makes a perfect 90 degree angle and is well-supported on the chair/table

– Keep chair close to table so that child does not have to bend too much to access study materials

– Reading material should be placed at eye-level height to avoid strain on eyes and neck

– Some literature suggests Vajrasana to be very effective in improving concentration

What is your suggestion for dealing with exam stress?

Regular movement, exercise, dance breaks can be very effective in reducing stress and improving brain’s cognitive function, memory and concentration.

What to do if a child is fidgeting while preparing for exams?

It is suggested that if you find a child fidgeting, which is a sign of poor concentration, while studying at home or in class-room, a movement break becomes a better strategy to stop it. Regular exercises and games are found to be very effective in improving cognitive functions of the brain. Various studies have concluded that exercises release endorphins, serotonin and dopamine in the brain, which in turn is found to improve memory, create a happier and healthier mood and release tension.

Please suggest exercises to increase strength of students for writing faster in exams.

Writing is a complex activity where along with dexterity of hand, strength of proximal muscle groups at trunk and shoulder plays a very significant role. It is said that distal mobility comes from proximal stability, meaning improved writing will come from better trunk posture and scapular and shoulder strength. Common exercises that can be done to improve trunk posture and scapular and shoulder strength are:

– Surya-namaskar, plank and reverse plank – improve overall core and upper limb strength

– Bhujangasan – keeps the spine flexible allowing upper limb muscles to function optimally

– Stretch neck, shoulder, arm and forearm to facilitate good blood circulation in these areas and reduce fatigue.

Are there some quick exercises to stay healthy during exams?

– Trataka – strengthens eye muscles, improves vision and concentration

– Vajrasana – calms the nervous system, helps in digestion and enhances concentration and will power

– Pranayam- nadi-shodhan and bhramri in particular- reduces stress, provides mental calmness and improves concentration

– Bhujangasan: Standing back bending – to allow lumbar spine to extend and reduce lower back pain, which can occur as a result of long duration of sitting.

– Running, dancing, walking etc to release endorphins. It will improve oxygen circulation of brain

– Neck, shoulder, arm and forearm stretches to improve blood circulation and to stretch these muscles


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