Oversized bags have become somewhat of a fashion accessory among both women and men.
The average bag has been found to weigh in at a whopping 6.2lbs!
All of this weight is pulling down on your body and with the added weight of shopping bags this Christmas, your back and shoulders could be screaming out for help. Girls seem to be guilty of carrying items just in case they are needed, which soon adds up on the scales e.g. purse, phone, keys, diary, hair and make-up items. Men are getting bad for heavy bags as well with satchels coming into fashion holding anything from a phone, kindle, laptop, diary and paperwork.
With large bags being more fashionable, the more space we have, the more we can put in them and there is no need to clear out our bags every week, right? Wrong! Our bodies should only carry 5-8% of our body weight and carry a maximum of 10% at any time to keep our spine aligned and healthy.
If we continue to overload our body with the bag we carry on a daily basis, chronic problems start to occur e.g. tension in the neck and shoulders leading to tension headaches, poor posture, degeneration of the spinal discs and vertebrae spinal misalignment. If these problems are ignored and left to continue long term, more serious problems can occur e.g. herniated discs, pulled muscles, nerve entrapment leading to pins and needles and numbness.
Here are a few tips to choosing a back- healthy bag and maintaining proper use of it:
- Choose a bag with wide, padded straps for comfort and support.
- A back pack is optimal in the bag world with its padded strap on both shoulders and waist belt. These features distribute the weight across the hips instead of across the shoulders so is ideal for heavier items such as laptops and textbooks.
- If a back pack is not on your trendy radar, then the next best thing is a cross-body bag with a wide padded strap which keeps the bag around your centre of gravity (in line with your belly button). Any added weight to the body is safest close to the body.
- A shoulder bag is not the best for our back, but if one is necessary, choose one with two short straps so that the bag can sit nicely between your armpit and waist as close to the body as possible. Choose wide straps and stay away from chains as they cut into your skin if the bag is too heavy.
- Try to opt for a bag made from nylon or canvas as these are lighter materials. You are doing yourself an injustice if you start with a heavy bag before any items go inside. If a leather bag is more practical, choose a soft leather one so the bag can mould to your shape as you carry it.
- When carrying your bag, stand with good posture- chest lifted, shoulder blades back and down (retracted) and look forward rather than at the floor.
Follow these simple steps above and you should have a happy, healthy back. Although, if this blog has reached you a little late and you are already suffering some of the symptoms mentioned above, please do pop down to the Vita- Physical clinic to get treatment for your ailments. It’s amazing how good you will feel after a good massage and spinal adjustment on those tired and overworked muscles. While you are here, you can see just how heavy that bag of yours is using our bag scale. Put your bag to the test today and see if it passes our scale limit!