Sweat logo

June 16, 2017

Avoid Handbag Strain! - Hero image

For most women, a handbag is a necessity to carry our belongings. While we may love our handbags, our handbags don’t always love us back. Depending on how you carry your bag or how big or heavy it is, your bag can have a big impact on our body.  Carrying around a handbag for long periods of time, or carrying a handbag that is too heavy, can lead to neck and shoulder pain or lower back pain. It can also cause problems with your posture, which may lead to imbalances or dysfunction.

Tips for avoiding handbag strain 

Here’s a few things you can do to avoid handbag strain: 

Reduce the clutter 

Seems obvious, and it is! By reducing the amount of stuff in your handbag, you reduce the weight you are placing on your shoulder each day, which can help to reduce pain or problems with posture from carrying a heavy weight on one side of your body. 

Be mindful of how you carry your bag

Carrying your bag in the crook of your arm as if your arm can put excess strain on your elbow if your bag is heavy, something the joint is not really built to stand. Over a long period of time, it can also lead to inflammation or to rounded shoulders. 

Switch sides 

We all have a side that our bag feels more ‘natural’ on. It can take a bit of getting used to, but swapping your bag to the opposite shoulder or arm can help to redistribute the weight. 

Swap bags

Switching up which bag you use regularly can help too. Switch between different types, such as bags with cross-body straps, one-strap and dual-straps, or use a purse every now and then. This way your upper trapezius muscle, the one that lives next to the side of your neck and top of your shoulders, gets a bit of a rest. 

Sweat is about so much more than your workouts

Feel your best - inside AND out

Maintain good posture

As with anything involving your body, posture is key! Carrying a bag on one shoulder can sometimes lead to raising the other side in compensation, which doesn’t do us any favours. Having a strong core and back muscles can help to reduce the strain on your body, as it helps keep your spine in alignment. 

Do some stretches to help

Heavy bags can mean stiff muscles. Regular stretching and targeted exercises can help reduce tension, as well as helping to strengthen your upper body. Try to fit a shoulder workout into your exercise routines. Yoga, pilates and weight training can all be great for strengthening your shoulders. Some exercises you can do to help include:

  • Neck rotation and stretches

  • Shoulder rolls

  • Lat pull-downs

  • Resistance band rows.  

Find the right fit

When choosing a handbag, there are a few features that can make it more comfortable and reduce the strain on your body. Look for bags with wider straps, as they can help to spread the weight over a larger area. Find a bag that sits closer to your body, as you want to be able to swing your arms and move your hips naturally.  Let’s face it, your handbag probably isn't going to disappear from your wardrobe anytime soon, so knowing how to find the right handbag, as well as the best way to carry it to minimise strain on your body is the next best solution. 

Sweat logo

A more empowered you starts with Sweat, and our editorial team is here to bring you the latest fitness tips, trainer recommendations, wellbeing news, nutritional advice, nourishing recipes and free workouts.

* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.


Recommended Stories

We have a feeling you’re going to love Sweat

That's why the first week is on us.