Schoolbooks? Check. Dance clothes? Check. Breakfast, lunch and dinner? Check, check and check. Dancers have to schlep a lot of stuff, but the way you schlep it matters. A poorly organized bag can lead to serious neck and back pain—and bad posture, to boot. Here’s how to pack a bag that won’t send you crawling to the chiropractor.
Step 1: Function First
Traditional backpacks may not be your favorite fashion accessory, but they’re worth the slight style sacrifice. Backpacks provide even weight distribution, helping to protect your back and neck from strains. Pick a bag that has adjustable straps and is made of lightweight material.
Step 2: The Heavy Stuff
Pack your heaviest items—like your schoolbooks and dance shoes—on the bottom. Carrying weight closer to the base of your spine causes a less significant change in posture than carrying it up by your neck and shoulders.
(Photo by Andrej Popov/Thinkstock)
Step 3: Even Steven
Distribute the rest of your supplies evenly across the backpack. Make use of side pockets to keep things balanced, minimizing the change in your posture while you’re carrying the pack.
Step 4: Weight Check
Ideally, your bag should weigh less than 10 percent of your body weight, and definitely
no more than 15 percent.
Step 5: Carry On!
Don’t waste all that careful packing with improper carrying technique. Use both straps, and adjust them so the bag sits close to your body. This will help reduce postural sway (how much the natural curvature of your spine is exaggerated by carrying a heavy load), and decrease stress on the muscles supporting your spine.
(Photo by Erin Baiano)
Need a confidence boost? Stand tall! Research shows that people who sit or stand up straight with their shoulders back and chests out feel better about themselves. Click here for exercises to improve you posture!
Did You Know?
According to a study published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, stalking a stranger on Facebook can make you more nervous to meet that person face to face. So instead of scrolling through the profile of the new girl joining your studio, hold off on the friend request until you actually get to know her.