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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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