Jan ’24 news: Your Starting Guide to 2024

Person reading book in hammock with leafy surrounds. Quote over top of image reads: "Reminder: Start from wherever you are and with whatever you’ve got. Jim Rohn.

Jan ’24 news: Your Starting Guide to 2024

Happy New Year from all of us here at St Leonards Physiotherapy!  We hope you enjoyed time to rest and reflect over the summer holiday period.

This month’s newsletter is focused on Starting: The start of a new year, the start of school, the start of a tale, the start of our physio programs and advice and tips about just starting in general. Enjoy!


A year from now, you’ll wish you had started today; the future starts today not tomorrow; never put off till tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow just as well… the quotes about starting are endless (even the ones said in jest, thanks for the laugh Mark Twain), especially at this time of year as we all navigate the blank page feels of a brand new year.

But it can be incredibly overwhelming to know how or where to start, especially if your goals are challenging, ambitious or even just that tiny bit too unrealistic for the body you’re in.

Whether it be joining a new fitness club, picking up a new hobby, or getting back to an old sport you loved in your earlier years, our team has the expertise and programs to not only help you start but to help keep you active and moving from wherever you are and with whatever you’ve got.

For a friendly consultation or help to initiate your new year start, phone (02) 9438 1782 or book online. Alternatively, visit the links in our program article below for more information about other ways to start the year right.

The Midnight Tumble

As the clock struck midnight and the revelry of New Year’s Eve filled the air, many found themselves bidding farewell to the old year and welcoming the new with jubilant spirits and, for some, perhaps one too many drinks. Amidst the laughter and cheer a misstep in a pothole, on the stairs or just because of those impossible shoes – led to an all-too-common mishap – the rolled ankle, scientifically known as a lateral sprain…

Read our latest blog article, Midnight Tumbles: A Tale of Lateral Ankle Sprain, where we dive into the intriguing blend of physiology and chance that culminated in that fateful stumble and to discover the end of this not-so-rare story.

Fresh Start Programs

Looking for a fresh start or program to help you manage your chronic condition? Here at St Leonards Physiotherapy, we offer a host of different classes, groups and award-winning programs to help you take back control, stay motivated or even prevent injury (although we can’t promise you’ll avoid a lateral ankle sprain wearing high-heels):

  • St Leonards Physio Runners: Our Strava Run Club group is an inclusive and free local running group, passionate about helping runners overcome their injuries and achieve their goals. We welcome all runners to connect with us, share your efforts, ask us your running questions, and if it takes your fancy, come and run with us! Click on the link above to head to our group page for more details or to join the fun.
  • Group Therapy: Classes suited to a variety of conditions and needs that run through a 10-week term, with Term One commencing Monday, 29th January. Our flagship classes/programs are:
    • ONERO Program: The award-winning exercise program for osteoporosis.
    • GLAD Program: Global osteoarthritis program for managing your condition, relieving your pain and increasing your mobility.
    • BEAT IT Program: This life-changing program can help you better manage your diabetes and create long-term changes for an improved quality of life.

For more information or advice about what’s right for you, phone (02) 9438 1782.

The Education Quarter

Back to School, Back to Backpacks…

Are you getting little (or not so little) ones ready to head back to school? Alongside new classes and friends, another steadfast companion returns: the backpack. While seemingly trivial, getting the right one (and wearing it correctly) is important for their musculoskeletal health. So, we’re sharing our thoughts on all things backpack today. For those in the throes of the back-to-school rush read on…

Blue school backpack sitting on floor, with stationary and green apple.

Weighty Matters

First and foremost, let’s talk about the backpack’s weight. It’s easy for young learners to stuff everything they own into their bags (including rock collections!), but an overloaded backpack can spell trouble. Advise your kids to pack only what’s necessary to significantly alleviate the strain on their growing bodies. Experts suggest a backpack should weigh no more than 10-15% of a child’s body weight. Anything more can lead to discomfort, muscle strain, and, over time, contribute to spinal misalignment. But how do you do that? Well, aside from checking the pockets for rocks every now and again, we suggest you tell them to fill water bottles at the water bubblers once they’ve arrived at school, remind them to use their lockers instead of carrying everything all the time, purchase a lighter weight microfibre towel for school swimming days, and encourage multiple trips to the school library throughout the week rather than attempting to bring half a dozen books home in one go!

Pack Right for the Back’s Delight

Properly distributing weight within the backpack is equally crucial. Encouraging kids to use multiple compartments and place heavier items closer to the centre of the bag helps maintain balance. When worn incorrectly—say, slung over just one shoulder—the imbalance places undue stress on one side of the body, potentially leading to strained muscles and a lopsided posture. This lopsidedness, in turn, can affect spinal alignment, creating issues, like chronic backache, that might linger beyond the school years.

Ergonomic Essentials

And what – apart from a strong, quality bag that will fit everything needed should you look for when choosing a bag? We’re glad you asked…

  • Padding: Padded shoulder straps and a padded back panel can help reduce pressure points on the spine.
  • Adjustable Straps: Ensure the backpack has adjustable shoulder straps to customise the fit according to your body size and shape. Also, waist and chest straps can help distribute weight more evenly.
  • Proper Size: Opt for a backpack appropriate for your body size. A bag that’s too large or too small can strain your back and shoulders. Ideally, the backpack should not hang more than a few inches below the waist.
  • Multiple Compartments: Having multiple compartments allows for better weight distribution. This enables you to pack heavier items closer to your back, preventing unnecessary strain.
  • Lightweight Material: Choose a backpack made from lightweight materials to avoid adding unnecessary weight.

It’s What You Do with it That Counts…

Teach your kids to wear their backpack correctly – just like you teach them, then remind them, then nag them to wear sunscreen, their hat, and their seatbelts. (At least they can’t lose their seatbelt!). A backpack worn snugly against the back with both shoulder straps comfortably secured promotes better weight distribution and reduces strain. Teaching kids to adjust the straps to ensure the bag rests at the lower back, rather than sagging too low, also aids in maintaining proper spinal alignment. We recommend letting kids choose a bag, or accessories for it they like to “make it cool” so they’re not tempted to carry it badly to compensate for its “uncoolness.” It can be exhausting for parents and teachers to remind them every day, but it’s a life skill worth teaching!


The old school backpack deserves a bit of thought. Its significance extends beyond ferrying books; it directly impacts the developing spine and posture of growing children. Getting a good quality, ergonomic backpack and ensuring they know how to pack it sensibly and carry it correctly sets them on the path to better physical health for years to come, ensuring a smoother journey through their educational pursuits and beyond.

We wish you the best of luck through this crazy, back to school rush. And don’t forget we’re here to help with any injuries or aches the holidays have thrown at you. Call us on (02) 9438 1782 to make an appointment with the physiotherapists at St Leonards Physiotherapy.

PS: We’re also on Facebook or Instagram. Check us out for more helpful tips from your friendly physios.