Ever since we were kids we had to carry around our school backpacks. I was lucky that my parents took extra care and assured every time I wore it correctly. Otherwise, I may have ended up developing a bad posture.
One of the most encountered problems among the younger kids is backpack-related injuries because their small body has to carry heavy items in their backpacks, even if this problem doesn’t affect the kids immediately, later on, can lead to physical problems, therefore I started to wonder if backpacks are that bad and if there is something that we can do to help our posture.
Does wearing a backpack help your posture?
Short answer: Yes, they can help to maintain your body’s natural position. Comparing to shoulder bags which can cause backaches, neck pain and muscle tightness, backpacks can help you posture only if worn correctly.
How to wear a backpack correctly so it helps your posture?
Backpacks distribute the weight that you carry across your back rather than focusing it on one side. Bear in mind that backpacks can cause problems too if they are too heavy. To properly wear a backpack you need to follow a couple of steps.
The first step is to wear your backpack on both shoulders, even if it is not as fashionable as wearing it on one shoulder, you will be exempted from developing a bad posture and back pains. Wearing it on both shoulders helps the way its weight is distributed across your back.
The second step is to adjust the height, the lower part should be about an inch above the waist. If your backpack is hitting your butt, then you are wearing it too low and the weight is not distributed correctly. Also, you should be careful that the top part of the backpack is not above your head level.
If it is too high, the pressure on the shoulders will be greater and you may be tempted to bend forward due to the weight of the backpack risking to develop a bad posture.
The third step is to keep the backpack as close as possible to your back so the straps won’t be loose and don’t forget to pack heavier things closer to your back.
You should try to use as many pockets as you can, doing so it will ease the way the weight is distributed and you will end up with a nicely organized backpack.
The fourth step is to make sure that you are carrying just what is necessary. Weight reduction is very important when it can impact your health. If you need to carry multiple things that can be quite a burden due to their weight, try to carry them into multiple trips. Doing this your backpack will be lighter every time and you won’t have difficulties carrying it correctly.
And the final step is to fasten the waist strap if your backpack has one. If you are looking for a new backpack, try to get one that has waist straps. The role of the waist strap is to distribute the weight to your hips. It will keep the backpack close to your back and will prevent it from swinging.
Following all these steps will not only help you avoid developing a bad posture but will also help you avoid back pain.
Does the size of a backpack influence your posture?
It certainly does! If the backpack it’s big the chances to carry more heavy things in it are bigger, therefore to minimalized the weight try to purchase smaller backpacks.
Another thing you should be aware of is the interior of the backpack as the heavier items should stay closer to your back and lighter items can go on the external pockets of your backpack, also you may want to consider backpacks with a waist belt as it can prevent the items from moving, also it distributes some weight on your hips leaving your shoulders more comfortable.
Can I still wear a backpack if I already have signs of developing a bad posture?
Yes, you can. However, you have to be careful to wear it correctly. Otherwise, you may risk worsening your posture. Also, you should not carry more than 10% of your weight even if the recommended amount is up to 20% of your weight.
Another thing you must follow if you already are developing a bad posture and you need to carry a backpack is to never wear the backpack on only one shoulder. Wearing it on only one shoulder will only worsen your posture and you may also develop one-sided pains.
Are backpacks safe for kids?
It depends, in most of the cases the backpacks are safe for kids. However, backpacks should be of a size suitable for the kid wearing it. Some backpacks have thin straps that are dangerous for kid’s shoulders, therefore you may opt for backpacks that have padded shoulder straps.
Don’t purchase a backpack for your kid only because it looks great! As the backpack is more of a necessity than a fashion accessory, it should be as comfortable as possible.
As children are the most exposed to the risk of developing a bad posture, wearing the backpack incorrectly have a high chance to make your kid develop a bad posture in future. Make sure that your kid is wearing it properly.
Most of the kids tend to wear a backpack in the way they think is more comfortable for them, even if that way is comfortable for only a couple of minutes.
Remember, for young persons, the weight recommended to be carried in the backpack should not be more than 10 to 15 percent of their body weight, otherwise, it will affect the gait and can cause acute back pain.
Are shoulder bags better than backpacks?
No, shoulder bags are not better than backpacks. Since you have to carry the shoulder bag just with one shoulder the weight is distributed unevenly. Therefore, one-sided pains are not uncommon when wearing shoulder bags and also, posture deformation may be expected after wearing shoulder bags for several years.
Backpacks can be as harmful as shoulder bags if worn incorrectly. For example, if worn on one shoulder only, sometimes can be even more harmful.
However, if worn correctly you can even benefit from wearing a backpack as it can keep your back straight and can improve your posture if you already started to develop a bad one.