We’re continuing our Spring Cleaning series this month by focusing on cleaning out your bags. Last summer when my sister-in-law came to visit she was lugging around a huge bag on one shoulder and wearing horrible shoes (flip-flops!). I was not surprised when she told me that she had pain in her neck and back. She is not alone in making these biomechanics mistakes. Many women carry large fashionable purses filled with all their “must-have” items that weigh them down. Well, it is time for a spring cleaning!
Get your bag, whether it’s a purse, briefcase, backpack, diaper bag, or all of the above, and dump everything out. As you start to replace items, think carefully about how often you’ve used it, and whether you really need it in your bag, or if you can leave it in the car, at home, or in the office.
Also, go ahead and dump out your change. Start a jar at home to collect coins, and regularly empty coins from your bag.
Now that you’ve determined what you need, see if you can downsize to a smaller purse. If you give yourself less room, then you cannot collect as much weight! When you purchase a new bag, feel how heavy it is in the store when it is empty; then think about how much heavier it will be once you put your possessions into it. Consider using a cross-body bag that distributes the weight of your bag across your body, making you less likely to slouch to one side or hike your shoulder up to keep it from falling. You might also consider using a small backpack, which distributes the weight across both shoulders.
When carrying your bag, make sure you’re maintaining good posture, keeping your core engaged, your shoulders back, and your eyes forward with your chin tucked. If you do carry your bag on one shoulder, be sure to switch sides to give your body an even workout.
If you have any questions or want an evaluation to improve movement patterns, call L A R Physical Therapy at 410.381.1574 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment.