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Be a Smart Bag Handler

Oversize bags, purses, and gym bags can be convenient, but they're not good for your back, your shoulders, or your neck. O magazine loves to give tips on being both trendy and healthy. And what's more important than a woman's health and her purse?

Here are a few highlights on keeping your bag safe for your body:

  • Your weight and your fate: (New York-based chiropractor) Isis M. Medina's rule is that you should tote no more than 10 percent of your body weight—so a bag that's more than five pounds when empty is a bad start. If your load is excessive, your head and neck jut forward rather than staying over your shoulders, which can lead to headaches, neck tension, and back pain.
  • Getting a handle: Long-strapped shoulder bags are out: They tug you to one side in a C shape, with the purse bumping at your hip and the strap slipping (so you hunch up your shoulder to keep it in place). Avoid chains, too; they tend to gouge the flesh. Look for short handles, not too flimsy or narrow (with very skinny straps on a hefty bag, you're asking for trouble).
  • No feed bags: Slouchy may be in, but Medina likes structure: When items shift around and aren't well distributed, your balance is thrown off. Even an oversize bag can work, the doctor assures us, if it's got a definite shape, a firm base, and inner compartments to keep belongings stable.
  • Easy access: If you have to do a major dig to find your phone or comb, you're twisting and distorting your torso. You want possessions to be reachable yet secure—a long top zipper or magnetic closure helps; Medina also likes outside pockets for frequently needed essentials.

Fit's Tip: Check out the Puddle Jumper Bag for all your gym gear, it's one that I think Medina would approve.

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Join The Conversation
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I refuse to carry a HUGE purse. I try to fit my essentials into my little purse so I don't have a huge load to lug around everywhere. I usually just carry my wallet, phone, lipstick/lipgloss, gum, and a bottle of ibuprofen. Works for me.
Fitness Fitness 8 years
Klandrach — they say that if you must use an oversize bag, then be sure to switch shoulders you carry it on frequently to ease pain. So no worries, you can still enjoy your new Cole Haan ;)
klandrach klandrach 8 years
I just bought a gorgeous new oversized shoulder bag and I can already tell it is not good for my back...what's a girl to do? It is so cool and Cole Haan.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 8 years
Ewww my 35 pound backpack in Europe SUCKED!!!
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