As promised this post will explain how to correctly pack a backpack and what the correct lifting and carrying techniques are, whether you are an adult or child, after all backpacks are supposed to alleviate pain, not create it!
First of all buy the right backpack:
Try to choose a canvas pack over a leather one as they are usually lighter. If you are buying one for your child, take them with you, this will make sure that they like it and that it fits them properly.
Padded and adjustable straps are a must to ensure comfort and to help with packing choose one that has a few separate compartments and don’t try to save money by buying the biggest backpack you can find – make sure it is appropriate to either you or your child’s size.
So we’ve found the perfect backpack – how do we pack it?
When you carry anything out away from your body, it takes more effort, and places stress on your joints and muscles.
A good strategy is to put the heaviest items on the inside of the pack, close to your back. If the heaviest items are packed further away it can throw out your centre of gravity! Carry the little things, like calculators, pens, and loose paper toward the outside. You can help by placing items so there is equal weight on either side of the pack.
Most kids carry between 10 percent and 22 percent of their body weight in their packs, however research shows that heavy loads may cause spinal discs to compress
A 2017 study published in the journal Applied Ergonomics confirmed that a child should carry no more than ten to fifteen percent of their body weight in their packs and for a larger child, the percentage amount is even smaller. The authors of the same study recommend carrying 1/3 less weight in their packs than children of healthy weight.
Now we have the perfectly packed bag – how do we lift and carry it?
One thing that can make backpacks seem heavy and cumbersome is keeping the shoulder straps loose. Loose straps may lead to a shifting of the pack’s contents when you move. And in turn, this may cause muscles to work harder than necessary. Also adjust the shoulder straps so that the bottom of the pack is just above the waist.
By cinching the straps to fit your frame, you can secure the pack and its contents. Balancing the load should be easier this way. Some packs come with waist belts. Waist belts take a portion of the load off the shoulders. By supporting some of the weight lower down, where the mechanical advantage is better, you may decrease neck pain and back pain above the waist.
Use both straps. Whether it’s fashion or convenience that propels you to sling your pack over one shoulder, know that such a practice can contribute to the development of poor posture habits.
Make sure to lift the pack with a straight back, using the thigh muscles to take the strain. Also lift it with both hands, holding it close to your body, then slip one arm through the shoulder strap and then the other.
If you have to lean over to carry the load – your pack is too heavy, incorrectly fitted or poorly packed!
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