Most of us walk around with our entire lives in our bag. And while it might make things easier, it certainly isn’t doing our bodies any favors. Carrying around a too-heavy bag can cause aches, pains, strains–even muscle tears! So we asked Dr. Evelyn Haworth, a chiropractor and co-inventor (with her husband Kelly Haworth) of the Tru-Align Body System, what the optimal weight a woman’s handbag should be.
Whether you’re slinging it over one shoulder or across your body, the maximum weight a shoulder bag should be is 10 percent of your body weight (if you’re healthy with no injuries or issues). So if you weigh 140 pounds, your bag should be no more than 14 pounds. “Ideally, it would be less so you’re not putting too much strain on your body–and the wider the strap, the better,” says Dr. Haworth. “Be sure to not always wear it on the same side of your body.”
Guidelines for backpack users who are healthy is no more than 20 percent of their body weight. But make sure the bottom of bag is fitted right at the waist to match the natural indentation of your body, says Dr. Haworth. And bonus points if it has a belt around the waist.
With straps too small for the shoulders, designer tote bags have to be carried in the “Arm-Hook Crook” fashion. Keep this one under 10 pounds. And try not to pick it up from the floor, which can strain your back. Instead, keep it on a shelf or counter so you don’t have to bend down to grab it.
Without a strap, you’ll be holding this in your hands or under your arm, so keep it under five pounds. If there is a strap that you can put around your wrist, you can go up to five pounds max. And don’t swing your clutch around–this can pinch and strain muscles in your hand, arm, wrist or even back.
[Photo: Walk In Wonderland]