Shoulder the Load: 3 quick tips for choosing and wearing your backpack
Heading to the gym on your lunch break? Pack your backpack. Or, off to uni? Pack your backpack. Or, finishing up the kids’ lunch boxes for school? Pack their backpack.Whether you love or loathe them, the classic backpack is here to stay.
In fact, of all the luggage types you could choose to carry your daily load of items, a backpack is actually one of the safest and most sensible to choose for your body. Where a tote bag, briefcase or messenger bag could influence you to carry all that weight to one side, a backpack evenly distributes the load across both shoulders.
That said, a backpack can still place unwanted strain on your body. This could lead to poor posture, back pain, neck pain or shoulder pain. To help you reduce your risk of injury, we’ve listed three little reminders below to help you practice good habits with your bag carrying:
Wear your backpack correctly
Don’t try to be a “cool kid”. Use both shoulder straps – not just one. That’s why there’s two! Ensure they’re adjusted and fitted to you properly. Every time you wear it – whether over a coat in winter, or just over a light t-shirt in summer — your pack should be high on your back and comfy.
Also, don’t be afraid to take advantage of the chest or waist strap if your bag has one. All straps on a backpack are there to help evenly distribute the load across your shoulders, and your body. It’s more comfortable and reduces your risk of pain. Take advantage of them!
Don’t overload your bag
When packing for your day, your backpack shouldn’t weigh more than 15% of your body weight. Don’t forget, that includes the weight of your full water bottle. Pack heavier items towards the back of your pack so they sit closer to your spine – it’s better for you and your pack will seem lighter to carry.
Ensure your pack doesn’t swing when you walk, and when you’re standing still (for example, waiting at the station for your train) be sure to give your body a break by setting your bag down between your feet.
Buy the right size pack for your body
When wearing your backpack, it should fit within the height of your torso. Therefore, it should sit on your back slightly below your shoulders to just above your waistline. If it’s any taller, it’s the wrong size for your frame and could contribute to chronic pain.
Lastly, as with any heavy item, be sure to practice safe technique when picking your bag up off the floor. Face your bag, have your legs shoulder-width apart and squat down to retrieve it. Your back and shoulders will thank you for it!
At Sydney Spine and Sports Clinic, we put you first. We believe in offering chiropractic care that enables you to make informed and educated choices about your health. If you are suffering pain or injury and would like to talk to us about how we can help you get mobile and active again – get in touch right here.