Is your Satchel, Carrybag or Handbag Ruining your Posture?

To answer the question, Is my carry bag ruining my posture?

Short answer, yes..

Carrying the wrong bag and carrying it poorly places heaps of strain on your shoulders, back and neck..😫

BUT, you can take steps to reduce the load your bag puts on your posture.🎉
 

How much your bag- backpack, satchel or handbag- affects your posture is determined by these things..
 
1)    The type of Bag
 
2)    How heavy it is
 
3)    The way you carry it
 
4)    Your postural strength and endurance
 
So, let’s look at these factors  and see which ones you can improve on..


1)    What type of bag do you tend to carry?

A Laptop bag?💼
A Handbag?👜
A Backpack?🎒
A gym bag?💪
 
It’s probably a ‘no-brainer’, but bags that allow you to carry your load fairly symmetrically win every time.
 
So backpacks are great- and there’s some pretty cool ones out there is you hunt around..
 
The best ones have a waist strap that allows you to distribute some weight to your hips and pelvis. That’s especially important is you have a heavy backpack, are carrying it long distances or have a sore, weak spine. 🎒

.. but maybe not ‘the look’ you’re after?

The next best option is a ‘satchel type’ bag that allows you to spread the load from one shoulder, across the chest, and the weight hand on the opposite side… more about how to carry it well later 💼
 
If you have a casual carry bag (like a gym bag), make sure it has a longer ‘over the shoulder’ handle, so you can carry it like the satchel rather than both handles. 
If not, ditch it!
 
Lastly, the Handbag. Well, ladies, we do have a tendency to fall in love with a gorgeous handbag! 👜
 
Truth is, is you wanna do your posture a favour, keep your handbag as small as you can. 
NOT choose the oversize option that allows you to fit the kitchen sink- unless it’s just for the beach!

 

2)    How heavy it is

You knew it was coming! 

Yep, it’s time to give your carry bag a spring clean 😃
 

The last time I did this, I found an industrial sized tape measure in the bottom that weighed a tonne! No wonder I was feeling weighed down L
 
So make sure you only have in it what you absolutely need so you’re not putting unnecessary strain on your body.

 

3)    The way you carry your bag
So, it probably makes sense that the beauty of a backpack is that you can carry it on your back, spreading the load evenly between your shoulders.
 
So why do most of us tend to sling our backpack over one shoulder?
 
Yep, maybe it’s a habit from our days as school-kids, but now we’re more ‘grown-up’ try and create a new habit when you’re using your backpack!
 
Be determined to wear your backpack both shoulders (and waist if you have the strap) 👍
 
Now, a satchel can be both ‘on trend’ and fairly good at evening up the load, if worn correctly.
 
Don’t wear it on one shoulder!
Make sure you put the strap over your head and wear it across your body 👌
 
PLUS tighten the straps!
 
This is where many of us go wrong..
 
No Matter what type of bag you carry, slack straps put exgtra load on your body. 
The weight of your bag hangs lower and heavier on your shoulders, back and pelvis the longer the straps are..
 
So take a look now and see how much shorter you can make the straps on your bag while still feeling comfortable!
 
The other week I was wearing my laptop bag, a satchel (yes across my body)..
It felt heavier than usual and, after removing the heavy tape measure in my bag I realised something had gone pear-shaped..
 
My straps were really long! The heavy bag was flopping against my leg as I walked, my spine all out of kilter.
 
Al I needed to do was shorten them again- Walah!
(How they got longer I don’t know- my kids perhaps?)
 
Wearing a handbag on one shoulder has got to be us ladies’ biggest weakness- right?


Once you’ve decluttered (and chosen one you can wear as a satchel whenever possible) please try and wear it on alternate sides.
 
I know, we all have a favourite ‘handbag carrying side’, but do your posture a HUGE FAVOUR.. switch up the shoulder you carry it on as often as you can.
This is especially important if you get a sore neck, shoulders or upper back.
 

4)    Your postural strength and endurance

Note this last point is the biggest variable..
 
We all have a different tolerance to load on our posture.
 
This is determined by our muscle strength and endurance and how our bodies are put together.
 
Since we can’t change our genetic makeup or turn back the clock..
 
The MOST IMPORTANT thing you can do is have the best strength and endurance you possibly can.
 
There’s no right or wrong thing to do here..
– some people love the gym, others hate it
– some people love to walk or swim, others hate it
– some people love body-weight exercise, yoga classes, pilates, dance etc etc
– some people hate exercise altogether!
Whatever you do, if you want to improve your posture and it’s strength and flexibility, DO SOMETHING!
 
Even if you start with a little, start somewhere 😊
 
That’s why I created my ‘Workstation workouts’..
 
So busy people who maybe lacked the time or the ‘know how’ to exercises safely and in the best way to improve their posture and lessen the load on their bodies.
 
If haven’t already tried my 4 best exercises to strengthen your posture and improve it’s flexibility without leaving your desk, enter your details below!

So, your challenge this week is to
1)    re-assess your carry bag
2)    de-clutter it
3)    shorten the straps and wear it well
4)    start some strengthening exercises
 
You’ll be amazed at the difference you’ll feel 😃