How to Choose the Best Bag For Your Back
For students, back-to-school season is a time for new school supplies, new books, and maybe a new backpack to stow all of these goodies. It probably comes as no surprise, however, that the heavy backpacks and bags that young people carry to school can have painful consequences to their back health and posture. Students are not the only people at risk, though. Many of us carry heavy purses and bags every day, toting everything from our laptops and files to our lunches and gym clothes. These heavy bags can be a real pain in the neck…and shoulder, and back!
But fear not! We’re here with tips to help you pick a better bag for school, work, or play.
Lighten Your Load
This is perhaps the most obvious tip, but start by being honest with yourself about what you really need to carry with you. Experts recommend carrying no more than 10 percent of your body weight, so a 160-pound individual should aim to carry less than 16 pounds.
This is one case when less is more: remember that things like laptops, tablets, power cords, books, and water bottles are heavy and can quickly add up. Think about what you really need for the day and carry just that.
Avoid bags that are heavy even when empty, such as large leather purses or bags with lots of heavy buckles.
Your bag is an important purchase, so do your due diligence. Trying on an empty bag won’t give you a good sense of how comfortable it will feel once you’ve stuffed it full and are schlepping it all over town.
Before you buy a new bag, test it out thoroughly by filling it with all of the things you plan to carry on a regular basis. If the straps dig into your shoulders, it lies uncomfortably or awkwardly against your body, or it leaves you lopsided and off-balance, it’s probably time to reconsider your selection.
When selecting a purse, aim for a structured bag that holds your belongings securely in place and fits comfortably under your arm or falls at waist-level. Trendy oversized bags aren’t inherently bad, as long as you resist the temptation to overfill them, so be realistic with yourself. Avoid always carrying your purse on the same side of your body and try to get into the habit of alternating sides.
Master the Messenger
Like many purses, messenger bags can be problematic because they cause you to carry weight with one side of your body. This can throw you out of balance and strain your neck and one shoulder. To avoid this, look for a bag with a well-padded strap and remember to alternate sides so that you stay balanced.
Buy a Better Backpack
Look for a backpack with wider, padded straps and remember to always wear both straps so that the weight of your load is evenly distributed to both sides of your body. Tighten the shoulder straps so that your bag sits higher and rests firmly against your back. If your bag is especially heavy, consider a bag with a chest strap to help lift some of the weight off of your shoulders and ease back pain.