Are Backpacks Bad For Your Back?

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Between our phones, laptops, headphones, gym gear, food and spare clothes, most of us are carrying over 18 Litres / 5 Gallons on our backs! For some, carrying heavy loads on your back can result in back pain.

However, it's not all bad news. In comparison to a shoulder or tote bag, a properly designed backpack can in fact be the better choice for your back health due to the more even weight distribution. With the correct backpack and the right packing strategies in place you can significantly reduce any potential stress on your back. While we are not medical professionals, we are backpack experts! So here are our tips to reduce any discomfort.

How to reduce the likelihood of back pain?

  • Selecting a quality and well-designed backpack. Not all backpacks are created equally. Using a properly designed backpack with back padding, thick shoulder straps and a chest strap can help to relieve tension because it distributes weight properly across your back and shoulders.
  • Aim for symmetry. Pack your bag to distribute the weight evenly. Use pockets and compartments to keep your gear securely in place. Without items moving freely the weight won't shift as much when you walk. 
  • Use both backpack straps. Stop slinging your bag over one shoulder. Use both straps and adjust your backpack so that you are carrying it as high on your back as you can. Keep the straps tight and close to your body.
  • Designate different bags for different uses. Rather than carrying everything in the one bag, have a seperate bag for gym and work. 
  • Aim to carry less than 10% of your body weight. We know you like to lift heavy. However, reducing your every day carry load will go a long way for your back health. 
  • Check your backpack is the right size for you. Match the size of the backpack with your torso. Your backpack should sit comfortably above your glutes.

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