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Health Happy Round-Up: Sexy Posture–Smart Bag

APE038Welcome to a weekly series on Traveling with Baby, Health Happy Round-Up which focuses on multiple aspects of wholesome living and optimal health for the entire family.  Each weekend, Traveling with Baby will share some insightful news, recipes, and tips to help you consider fresh new perspectives on wholesome and happy health.  If there’s a topic or recipe you’d like featured on Health Happy Round-Up, let me know!  [drgarnecki at gmail dot com].

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Often people, especially women, tend to carry purses or bags on the same shoulder ALL the time, and usually they carry a bag on the shoulder opposite the dominant hand.  As a result, postural imbalances occur.

Consider what it feels like when you’re at the airport and you hoist a heavy bag onto your shoulder.

Posture-altering process

Your body compensates by leaning away from the bag; this response is due to the shift in weight and your center of gravity.

The same thing happens to your body when you carry a purse on your shoulder–the same shoulder day in and day out.  Whether the straps are short or long, your body’s posture reacts in response.  As a result, chronic changes occur in your body’s spine and supporting musculature to adapt to the shift in gravity’s center.

A backpack is no better.  The same postural adaptation that occurs with a shoulder strap in the side-to-side dimension also occurs with a backpack in the front-to-back dimension.  With a heavy backpack, depending on how high or how low it’s worn, a person will compensate by rolling her shoulders forward and sticking her head further forward so that it is no longer centered over her shoulders and hips.  As a result, neck and shoulder muscles are strained, and chronic changes in the spine and nervous system result.

Solutions

If you’re going to carry a backpack, then don’t carry any more than 10 percent of your body weight in the bag.  Check your child’s school bag, because often kids lug around a LOT of weight in a backpack leading to early damage on their necks and backs from carrying too much weight and overuse.  Next, position the bag so that it doesn’t cause shoulders to hunch forward, but actually allows the head, shoulders, and pelvis to line up.  This usually means a bag needs to be worn a little lower than usual.

Purses should be altered from side to side, and not always carried on the same side.  Purses should be light.  Don’t carry the kitchen sink in your purse.  Clean it out frequently and only carry what you really need.

A better option is to wear a bag that crosses from one shoulder to the opposite hip.  Again, veer away from extremely heavy weight, and alternate the shoulder from which it’s worn.  Messenger-style bags are often the best type of bags that can be worn to maintain good posture.  These are great for students and especially moms with babies who often have their hands full or need easy access to a bag.

Messenger bags are better for a woman’s posture than a purse worn on the same shoulder as the strap or a backpack, however, messenger bags usually have thin straps that are often uncomfortable on breast tissue.

Women’s Liberation

logo_smFinally, a bag was designed with women and their precious anatomy in mind.  Behold, the Go Gaga Messenger bag with the urban strap.

IMG_5861It feels like you’re wearing a pocket sling with wide shoulder support and comfortable fabric that doesn’t sheer against or smash breast tissue.  Oh, what a wonderful thing!

This heavy-duty bag doubles as a diaper bag or laptop bag.  Heck, I think it’d make the perfect gym bag, or airline carry-on, too.

The large Messenger Bag by Go Gaga is spacious enough for my laptop, multiple diapers, snacks, extra clothing, 2 water bottles, and the kitchen sink.  This bag was made for someone with a LOT of stuff, and it’s perfect for parents with multiples.

Features I love on Go Gaga bags:

  • Super comfy urban shoulder strap – I’d love to replace all of my other shoulder straps with this one, it’s so amazingly comfortable and ergonomic.  This definitely gets a chiropractor’s stamp of approval
  • The stroller straps – obviously, this bag was designed by a parent.  Multifunctional and practical
  • insulated bottle pockets – large enough to fit my Camelbak better bottle, let alone a sippy cup.
  • There’s not one but two fabric options made from recycled fibers: including the eggplant featured above.
  • You can wear baby in a ring sling, pocket sling, and front carrier while using this bag.

All bags are available in 6 color options with grey contrast: olive, cayenne, copper, black, eggplant (recycled), and sea blue (recycled).

Go Gaga features three laptop/diaper bags, depending on your carrying needs: Messenger, Gondola, and Slide.

msgr_display_eggplantThe large Messenger bag can fit a LOT of gear.  A center divider can be secured in place with hook and loop closure to create extra compartments for organization.  Or, you can flatten the divider to allow room for a laptop and anything you could possibly need to take care of a newborn or twins for an entire day or two.  The front flap secures with a clip, but the front pockets are still accessible to allow easy access to your wallet, phone, keys, or shopping list.

I will definitely use the Messenger as my carry-on the next time I fly cross-country with my son.  I’ll have easy access to anything I need while still being able to carry my son or hold his hand.gondola_display_copper

The medium-sized Gondola bag features a zippered opening, and it can carry a laptop as wide as 14 inches.  This is the perfect-sized bag for students who need to haul around a laptop, a couple of books, snacks, and liquid fuel for a long day of classes.  I wish I’d had one of these during chiropractic school.

Go Gaga’s smallest bag, the Slide bag, is my personal favorite for use as a laptop bag and diaper bag combo with my toddler.

display_main_slideI use the Go Gaga Slide as my work tote/purse which fits my 10 1/2 inch wide laptop (fits laptops up to 14 inches), a few diapers, case of wipes, bib, numerous snacks, a sippy cup, and my water bottle.  There’s also room with convenient external and internal pockets to store my cell phone, wallet, hairbrush, lotion stick, and lip balm.  Sometimes I even stick my lunch bag in there along with everything else already mentioned.  The external pocket features a key fob with a leash long enough that I don’t have to unhook my keys to unlock the door at work–clever, very clever.

Clever features

All 3 bags retail for $118 – $128 each (the higher end price is for the slightly heavier weighted recycled fiber fabrics).  All bags come with accessories: a cushioned diaper changing pad that’s oblong in shape, the amazingly comfortable urban strap with a shoulder pad which contains a cell phone pocket.   All Go Gaga bags are available in 6 yummy color options with grey contrast: olive, cayenne, copper, black, eggplant (recycled), and sea blue (recycled).  The ergonomic urban sherpa strap can be purchased seperately (comes in grey or black) for $32 to reconfigure all of your other carrying bags.

Note: the insulated side pockets are angled so that there’s slightly less room inside when they’re full with a water bottle.  Without water bottles on the sides, the bags can carry wider books and more items.

–By Dr. Dolly