Do you ever experience shoulder or back pain after a long day out? It could be because you may have over 20 pounds of stuff in your handbag, according to the Telegraph UK. Results based off of a OnePoll survey showed the average handbag weighs 23 pounds (10.5 kilograms), the same amount as a small child! Sounds crazy, right? I challenge you to weigh your bag right now and see how much extra weight you’re carrying around. I try to wear my lighter or crossbody bags when I know I’ll be out all day and save my heavier bags for shorter periods of time. One of my favorite purses is this Marc Jacobs handbag with beautiful chain straps. The bag is heavy before I even put anything in it and of course, I want to try to be glamorous and wear it on my arm instead of sensibly on my shoulder. I decided to weigh it and see just how much weight I’m actually carrying.
Just under 10lbs! I’m under the average but it’s still pretty heavy.
Oversize totes carry a serious potential for injury. The combination of the weight of the bag against muscles, tendons, nerves, and ligaments—plus the compensating shift in posture you make to carry the load—can lead to headaches, back pain, and muscle strains. Excessively heavy handbags can cause more serious nerve trauma or degenerative joint disease. It’s easy to dismiss the “pocketbook effect,” but “when you carry something heavy every day, the accumulated stress can lead to significant injuries that require medical attention,” says Martin Lanoff, MD, a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist and a clinical assistant professor at Rosalind Franklin University Medical School in Chicago.
So, how can you attempt to avoid injury from your handbag?
1.) Limit the loads. Lighten your load by using only trial size lotions and cosmetics. Also, shop for lighter bags: buckles, chains and other hardware can add upward of a pound to your freight.
2.) Center the weight. A backpack is best for this but everyone is not going to wear one of those (myself included). You can try to split your load and carry two bags with half the weight in each and holding one on either side of the body which will balance things out and align you better. Another alternative is a messenger style slung across the body to balance the weight. If you have a heavy shoulder bag, try to switch sides periodically and use a style with a wider strap to distribute the pressure across the shoulder.
3.) Keep the weight close to your body. Shorter straps will hug the weight closer to your body and minimize swinging. Also, wearing the bag on your shoulder as opposed to on your arm will keep the weight close to the body and lessen the strain.
Now that we know how to prevent injury from our handbags, it’s time for my personal pet peeve. Get your handbags of the ground ladies!!!! I have to tell this story. I was at a Hawks game sitting in the club level with some friends. I went to the bathroom and noticed that the woman in the stall next to me had placed her gorgeous leather Gucci bag on the bathroom floor. Yuck! But it gets worse. When we went back out to the dining area, she placed her bag on the table!! On the table where she and others were eating! YUCK!!! There have been several recent studies showing how toxic womens’ handbags can be to their health.
Tests done by Initial Washroom Hygiene shows that leather handbags carry the most bacteria because the spongy texture provides ‘perfect growing conditions.’ It is, therefore, advisable that women should wash their hands regularly and use antibacterial wipes to clean their bags and contents. In another study reported by the UK’s Daily Mail, the technical manager at Initial Hygiene, Peter Barratt, said: “Handbags come into regular contact with our hands and a variety of surfaces; so, the risk of transferring different germs onto them is very high, especially as bags are rarely cleaned.
In conclusion, clean your handbags regularly with sanitizing wipes and sanitize your hands after contact with your handbag before eating our touch yourself or others. And please don’t place your handbags on the ground. Use a cute bag hook instead.
I hope these tips will help create a more harmonious relationship between you and your beloved handbags.
Sources: Huffington Post, Telegraph UK, Prevention.com, Daily Mail.