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New Seasonals for AW18 are Here!

AW18 is here!

The Healthy Back Bag – AW18

It is finally time to say goodbye to summer and what a summer it was!

But even though we are sad that the sunniest days have past we can’t help being very very excited about our newest collection of bags, and we are sure you will be too. Say hello to the new AW18 range below!

Themes

As always at HBB, we endeavour to bring new, bold and exciting designs into your world. With this in mind, we develop 3 themes every season to help differentiate ourselves from crowd. The new bags for AW18 centre around three themes, all inspired by contemporary issues and ideals.

The three themes for AW18 are Back to the Future, Reflection, and Wanderlust.

BACK TO THE FUTURE

A blend of vintage and modern re-invents the traditional autumnal colour palette. The soft contrasts summon an image of another time whilst also promoting the modern aesthetic.

Deep purples combined with colour pops of aqua give this luxurious range a contemporary twist.

REFLECTION

Rooted in a Japanese-inspired aesthetic, the mood is mindful, meditative and spiritual and offers a balance of unisex neutrals with a zen hit of crimson.

WANDERLUST

Sport and craft meets individuality and difference. Genderless green is combined with natural greys, yellows and blues to create an earthy palette. Perfect for roaming the outdoors or travelling across the globe, these bags will definitely have Wanderlust effect.

There is a a whole collection of gorgeous seasonal’s perfect for almost any occasion. Contact us to find out more about our products and see how you can get hold of our newest range.

What is your favourite seasonal?

At HBB, we’re always trying to improve and bring you the best and brightest designs we possibly can.  Do you have a design or pattern that you love? Tell us what you think on our Facebook page!

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Dark Chocolate May Actually be a Superfood

chocolate could be a superfood

Dark Chocolate the Superfood

Despite ourselves we love chocolate in the HBB office, especially dark chocolate, maybe paired with a dark fruity red wine. And that got us to thinking, we’ve all heard the rumours about dark chocolate having health benefits. But if you ask anyone with they will always attempt to justify their cheeky indulgence.

As a writer I like to tell people that beer makes me more creative for example. It’s not true, but I still like to tell people this.

So, we decided to explore the possibilities, whilst we nibbled upon our Green and Blacks, that maybe, just maybe, dark chocolate truly was is the health food that chocoholics having been claiming all along.

6 Ways Dark Chocolate is Healthy… in moderation.

1. It’s helps you have a healthy heart

That’s right. When you eat dark chocolate it gets eaten by good bacteria in the gut which  “grow and ferment it, producing compounds that are anti-inflammatory.” said John Finley Ph.D., who led a recent study. “When these compounds are absorbed by the body, they lessen the inflammation of cardiovascular tissue,” this lessens arterial stiffness and helps prevent white blood cell adhesion, both of which are common causes of arterial clogging which can lead to strokes. If this doesn’t make it a superfood, we don’t know what will.

2. It’s actually pretty nutritious

A 100-gram bar of dark chocolate with 70–85% cocoa contains for example, on average contains:
11 grams of fiber
67% of the RDI for iron
58% of the RDI for magnesium
89% of the RDI for copper
98% of the RDI for manganese
It also has plenty of potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium

However, we should probably point out that you really shouldn’t be eating that much chocolate a day. This 100g bar of chocolate also comes with upwards of 600 calories and a pretty hefty sugar count, the negative effects more than negating those nutritional benefits.

Learn about The Dangers of Sugar here

3. It technically counts as a “super fruit”

The cocoa bean is in fact a berry. And in a recent study it was shown to have higher nutritive value than superfoods like blueberries and acai beans with a high antioxidant level. Which kind of means your dark chocolate bar is a superfruit…

4. It Keeps HDLs up and LDLs Down 

In a controlled study, cocoa powder was found to significantly decrease oxidized LDL cholesterol in men. It also increased HDL and lowered total LDL for those with high cholesterol. Basically what this means is it helps good cholesterol, and helps get rid of bad cholesterol. All of which means a reduced risk of heart disease.

5. It’s good for your skin

There are a couple of bioactive compounds in chocolate that are good for your skin. One of these is flavonols which can help protect against sun damage, improve blood flow to the skin and increase skin density and hydration. Eating dark chocolate isn’t a replacement for sun cream though.

6. It may even help with insulin production

Good news for people with type-2 diabetes.

“The antioxidants in chocolate help the body use its insulin more efficiently to help control blood sugar,” says Anna Simos, CDE. “This in turn helps lower blood sugar levels naturally and actually helps your body use your insulin. As a result, it helps decrease insulin resistance, which we see in type 2 diabetes.”

According to an animal study published in the November 2017 issue of the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, it’s the compounds found in cocoa called cocoa flavanols that appear to enhance certain cells’ ability to secrete insulin, the hormone that manages blood glucose. Another point for the superfood case.

chocolate could be a superfood

Conclusion

I suppose we should finish this article with a word of warning. Chocolate is high in sugar, so all consumption, even of the rich dark superfood that is dark chocolate should be consumed only in moderation. If you eat dark chocolate regularly, make changes to your diet by cutting out other sugary foods and calories to make sure you maintain a healthy balanced diet.

Want to learn more about balancing sugar in your diet?

That being said we are more than happy to inform you that yes, dark chocolate is healthy so i guess we have to prove that red wine is as well next…

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Athleisure & Boutique Fitness Fashion

The Rise of Athleisure

Athleisure, simply put, is athletic apparel that people can wear in non-athletic settings.

The rise caught many by surprise with a lot of people wondering if it was just a fad. However, more and more people are leaning towards the comfort of athletic clothing.

Athleisure is the blend, the blur between performance wear and comfortable athletic inspired lifestyle clothing. It has over the last couple of years solidly dominated the runways. More and more brands are turning their designers to comfy practical clothing.

The athleisure interpretations on the runway divide into two themes. The first is a track, field or gym-ready look that takes athleisure quite literally. These are clothes-to-go with body defining cuts, utility details, sporty colourways and decoration that directly references sports – such as numbered tops or stripes on rugby shirts. But a little indulgence is still allowed – Moncler’s bomber and shorts in white luxe lace makes that clear.

Alternatively, there’s a sports influence that’s more about everyday (or after dark) wear with an edge. But it’s one that really makes you feel the force of the sports trend.

One potential reason this trend is going from strength to strength is the growing health conscious population. People are more aware than ever of how things effect their health. They are eating healthier, organic foods, living more active lifestyles and they want the clothes that fit with this lifestyle.

Another reason for the trends exponential rise is the support from big brands. Adidas, is one example of a sports brand benefiting massively from this trend. The athleisure movement is allowing them to reach new demographics.

HBBs and Athleisure

Where does HBB fit into all this?

Our bags make great companions for all walks of life, from the office to the beach. Whether you’re heading to the peak district or the gym.
They are designed to be practical, comfortable and stylish. They come in a huge range of colours, fabrics and design all with our unique shape.

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10 Things You Need When You Travel

10 things for travel

TEN Things you NEED TO GET BEFORE YOU TRAVEL

When you travel, whether it’s backpacking around Asia or jetting off to the Canary Islands for a couple of weeks, there are a few mainstays that should be on everyone’s checklist: Suncream, bug spray, an adaptor.

This though is not that list. We have put together a list of 10 things you may never realised you needed, but will definitely make your travel life a whole lot easier.

1. Solar Powered Portable Charger

At some point in time you aren’t going to be near a plug and you will need to charge your phone or your tablet. Getting a solar powered one means you’ll never be out of juice, at least for as long as the sun is shining.

2. The Bungee Clothesline

This is a pretty underrated item. Whilst out travelling in the world it’s rare you’ll have the luxury of a dryer but you’re still probably going to want to wash clothes. The bungee clothesline lets you dry clothes anywhere, anytime.

3. A Multi-port USB Charger

It means you don’t have to carry around a whole load of plug adaptors and wall chargers for every single item.

4. Speaker

A speaker is always a good idea (along with a pack of cards). Get yourself a small compact little speaker with great sound. You can find good ones from £15+.

5. Tupperware

You weren’t expecting this one… But a good tupperware is certainly worth the space it takes up in your bag. Going to the beach and want to take some pasta salad? Going on a hike and want to take lunch with you? Never underestimate the practicality of the humble tupperware.

6. Sewing Kit – Safety Pins – Gaffa Tape

Okay… so this is really three items. But they all serve the same sort of purpose.

In the likely instance that something big (or small) breaks on your trip, such as a zip, a seam or a strap, there are very few things you can’t fix with some gaffa tape, a needle and thread or a safety pin. The safety pins are also great for getting your sim card out if you’re putting a local sim card in your phone.

A useful tip is to pack it into old tic tac boxes. They are the perfect size to compartmentalise your sewing kit and safety pins!

7. Pen Knife

A good swiss pen knife is probably one of the most versatile tools on the planet. I have a Leatherman that I never travel anywhere without. If nothing else, it’s great for cutting food up at a picnic. But also the pliers, screwdrivers, scissors (and of course the bottle opener) all come in handy at unexpected times.

8. Wacaco Hand Espresso Machine

Espresso on on the go. We’re coffeeholics in the HBB office, so going without coffee is really not an option we would dare to consider. This is a handheld espresso device, compact and easy to use. All you need is hot water.

9. Kindle Paperwhite

A good book is an absolute travel essential. Though for those of you on long trips, a stack of novels may not be the most convenient thing to carry around. Kindles give you access to a whole library that fits right in your bag, allowing you to read whatever you please, as and when you like.

10 things for travel

10. Noise Cancelling Headphones

For the plane, or the hostel. Wherever loud people are, a pair of good noise cancelling headphones are a must.

Bonus: AN HBB

And of course we would be terribly remiss if we didn’t at least mention our bags.

Designed to make your load feel lighter so you can comfortably carry it around all day. The practical pocketing means you will never lose your things inside your bag and to top it off, they are designed with security in mind, with the zip always pressed against your body.

What can’t you travel without? Let us know in the comments section below.

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7 Quick and Easy Tips for your Winter Skincare

7 Quick and Easy Tips for your Winter Skincare Winter just seems to hate your skin, and with the recent cold weather, it's likely that you're starting to dry up. We've compiled [...]

How to improve your mood and beat the winter blues

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Is Your Sugar & Fat Intake Out Of Balance?

There is a lot of confusing babble and conflicting advice when it comes to what we eat. So, we though we might try and clear at least some of it up…

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Cardio vs. Strength Training: What should you be doing?

Cardio vs. Strength Training

When it comes to losing weight there is a pretty broad mix of different things people tell you to do. Some swear that cardio is the only way to get thin. Others maintain that strength training (weights) is the way to go.

But who is right? And what should you be doing?

Unsurprisingly, the answer isn’t simple. The results you desire dictate the kind of exercise and how much of it you should undertake.

Before we begin, what do we mean by cardio, and what do we mean by strength training?

Cardio = cardiovascular exercise. This is any exercise that increases your heart rate dramatically. Examples of cardio are things like running, rowing or using an elliptical machine.

Strength Training = exercises designed to build strength and stimulate muscle development through the use of increasing resistance, for example, lifting freeweights or using resistance bands. An intense strength training session could count as a cardio workout if it raises your heart rate enough!

To Build Speed and Strength

Cardio: Exercises such as running should help strengthen leg muscles and increase speed and fitness levels, allowing you to exercise harder, burn more calories and build more strength.

However, your body is great at adapting to change. Just pacing out those 10 miles a week on a treadmill isn’t going to be enough. Your body will get used to the exercise and you’ll quickly find yourself plateauing.
In order to continuously see results, you need to push your body outside its comfort zone with speed training cardio workouts. These can jump-start your metabolism, help burn fat and increase endurance.

Strength Training: As the name suggests this is about building strength. If you want to be faster and stronger, you’re going to want stronger muscles.

More than that, strength training allows you to work muscle groups all over your body, most importantly your core and back muscles. This will help you better support your body weight and maintain good form, resulting in more powerful muscles.

To Burn Calories

Cardio: For burning calories and reducing body mass, cardio has the upper hand. However, it’s not quite as simple as burning off the pounds.

It has been found that people who ostensibly do just cardio burn large amounts of muscle mass along with the fat.

Strength Training: This doesn’t burn as many calories, but it does promote the development of muscle mass. This is important because muscle mass, even when idle requires more fuel for everyday functions than fat does. So, by building up muscle you will burn more calories over time.

It also takes energy to repair the muscles you break down during training. One thing to remember: muscle weighs more than fat. So, if you want to lose weight and only care about what the scales say, adding muscle will slow that process down.

If your goal then is to lose weight quickly, a cardio-heavy exercise regime is going to be best for you. However, if you want to keep the pounds off, you need to put on some muscle at the same time.

Photo by dylan nolte on Unsplash

Improving Lifestyle

The right exercise can help you improve your quality of life. Cardio is proven to help with a number of ailments, including, but not limited to, helping blood pressure, strengthening your heart and helping with osteoporosis.

That being said, it’s not all good news. Exercises like running, are incredibly hard on your joints and can lead to straining ligaments, wearing out cartilage and other permanent injuries that you might regret in later life. One suggestion we would make is to choose low impact cardio exercises like swimming.

For back health, resistance and muscle training are vital, particularly when focusing on your core. For those suffering from back problems, regular strength exercises can help minimise the effects of these problems on your daily life, while also stopping the build up of intra-abdominal fat.

Combating Stress

Exercising for just 15 – 20 minutes a day, no matter what it is, will help increase your serotonin levels and help your brain produce endorphins which will massively improve your mood.

On top of this, getting your heart rate up helps increase your energy levels by increasing blood flow to your muscles. A short cardio workout will stretch your muscles and break down any lactic acid in your system, reducing stiffness and aching.

Personally, if I am experiencing high levels of stress, I find a high-intensity strength workout consisting of lifting implausibly heavy things helps to vent my frustrations and clear my head.

Avoiding Injuries

Cardio: Regular cardiovascular exercises can help keep your body in shape and perform to its best ability.

However, the repetitive nature of doing cardio alone (that is, without combining it with any strength training) can put serious pressure on your joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons, and potentially result in injury.

Strength Training: Functional strength training teaches your brain how to handle muscle contractions that are quick enough to prevent or minimize injuries.

If you choose exercises that work your core, improve your balance and force you to bend at multiple joints, you are actually protecting your body. Think lunges, rows, squats and pull ups!

Conclusion

Simply put, if you want to lose weight, cardio burns more calories. Yet, as I hope I have made clear, this isn’t so cut and dry…

Cardio doesn’t do a whole lot for your muscles, in fact, a cardio-heavy exercise regime will reduce muscle.

Strength training on the other hand will help you build muscle, which, in the long term will help you burn more calories. ‘For every 3 pounds you gain (of muscle) you can expect to burn an extra 120 calories a day without moving.’

As you get older, resistance training becomes more important, as it improves muscle strength, suppleness and bone density. This will help keep you healthy and mobile and enjoy a better quality of life.

The best solution then is a clever combination of both cardio and strength training. This will help you slash calories, but build muscle at the same time leading to a leaner, stronger you.

References

Bernard Gutin, Paule Barbeau, Scott Owens, Christian R Lemmon, Mara Bauman, Jerry Allison, Hyun-Sik Kang, Mark S Litaker; Effects of exercise intensity on cardiovascular fitness, total body composition, and visceral adiposity of obese adolescents, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 75, Issue 5, 1 May 2002, Pages 818–826, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/75.5.818

http://www.health.com/weight-loss/best-exercise-to-lose-weigh

thttps://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/g19965862/your-body-on-cardio/ 

https://www.livestrong.com/article/421082-weights-vs-cardio-your-guide-to-the-perfect-body/

Keep updated on our blogs and everything else HBB

7 Quick and Easy Tips for your Winter Skincare

7 Quick and Easy Tips for your Winter Skincare Winter just seems to hate your skin, and with the recent cold weather, it's likely that you're starting to dry up. We've compiled [...]

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Is Your Sugar & Fat Intake Out Of Balance?

There is a lot of confusing babble and conflicting advice when it comes to what we eat. So, we though we might try and clear at least some of it up…

Posted on Leave a comment

5 Bits of Festival Kit you Didn’t Know you Needed

FIVE Bits of Festival Kit You Didn’t Know You Needed

Many people over the summer months will be braving the temperamental English weather and heading out into the sun, wind and rain to go to their favourite summer festival. You may think you need nothing more than your sleeping bag, a change of pants and that old moth bitten pop-up tent; here at HBB we salute such brave folly but we rather think a few essentials wouldn’t go amiss.

We’ve put together a little list of 5 essential non-essentials that might just get you to the final headliner with your sanity (and all your belongings) in check.

1. The HBB Baglett

We wouldn’t be doing this right if we didn’t put our very own Baglett as number 1 on the list. A secure and stylish little bag. You can keep all your valuables safely on you and you don’t even have to resort to a bumbag.

They’re weather resistant, hands-free, secure, lightweight and stylish. What more could you want?

Shop the Range Now

2) Tent Finder

Ever wandered around the campsite aimlessly searching for your tent in a sea of identical pop-ups? Well then this gadget is for you.  From anywhere within a 50 metre radius you can activate the Tent Finder. With a flick of the remote, 23 LEDs on the dome-shaped light will illuminate your tent like a glowing beacon leading you to your humble festival home.

3)  Portable Speakers

Not all the parties happen at the stages. Make sure you get ahold of a powerful little speaker for your groups campsite.

4) Solar Powered Portable Charger

A portable charger is a must when camping at any festival. Nothing worse than your phone running out of power on the first day. You can’t take any pictures, can’t locate your friends. However, we are going one step further and suggesting a solar powered charger. It’s summer… it’ll be sunny right?

5) Camel Back

You probably did already know this one. But it’s thirsty work partying and you can’t constantly be drinking beer. A camel back makes life much more comfortable and will help you last the full festival weekend.

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Perfectly Practical Bags Combining Fashion and Function

practical bags for everyday use

Perfectly Practical Bags Combining Fashion and Function

Three stages of loving an HBB

Firstly, people love the way it looks.

With its unique shape, bright colours and gorgeous seasonal patterns and prints, each HBB allows you to show the world your mood.

Secondly, they adore the way it feels.

They try it on, and it really does make their load feel lighter! Check out our HBB Health section to find out more.

and Finally, they realise they can’t do without it.

The design and practicality of it means going back to a regular bag is no longer an option. Try it for one week and you’ll see what we mean.

Practical Pocketing

One of the things people fall in love with about our bags is the pocketing.

We have carefully and strategically designed the internal pocketing to serve two purposes.

The first is simply to keep your possessions organised. More often than not the internal pocketing of bags just hasn’t been thought through. Leaving a simple cavernous interior that swallows possessions.

Our pockets make organising things easy with space for umbrellas, headphones, your phone, make-up, pens and more. There’s even a clip for your keys.

Healthy Pocketing

There is another reason for this strategic internal functionality.

Balance.

Our bags are all about balance. So our pockets are designed to spread the weight of your possessions throughout the bag, distributing the weight evenly and helping make the bag comfortable and good for your back.

NewPocket_Internal

Non-Slip

Another one of our perfectly practical features is the non-slip strap.

When your straps slip down off the shoulder, people often compensate with a slight twist of the spine. This can lead to back pain.

To address this problem our bags have non-slip straps. This stops the strap sliding down and off the shoulder. This is especially useful when slung over one shoulder but also makes the bag more comfortable when worn cross-body.

Why Are We Healthy?
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8 Reasons you Should Cut your Sugar Intake Today

Here’s why you should cut down your sugar intake today…

We were recently talking in the office about how much sugar you find in everyday food and drink. Things you consume without really thinking about it, like cereal or yoghurt.

Sugar provides the body with empty calories that give us energy without any nutrients. As a result, we eat more without feeling full or satisfied. This leads to an increased risk of weight gain, certain diseases, and a cycle of highs and lows in energy levels, which will leave you feeling tired and craving even more sugar!

We know that sugar isn’t exactly good for you, but at the same time we couldn’t agree on just how bad it is.

So, we did some research…

Your Recommended Daily Intake

The Government’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) recommends that our daily sugar intake should be less than 5% of our total energy intake.

This varies from person to person but as a rule of thumb that works out to be around 25 g for women, and 40 g for men.

To put this in perspective, a 330ml (small) can of coke contains 39g of sugar. That’s basically the suggested daily intake for men.

What does sugar do to your body?

Let’s start with the obvious ones.

Sugar can Cause Weight Gain

The SACN carbohydrates and health report found that the consumption of high sugar beverages and foods resulted in weight gain and increases in BMI.

Sugar supplies us with energy but no other nutrients meaning it is in no way satisfying for our bodies. This leads us to over consume. This means if you are able to dramatically cut down your sugar intake, losing those extra pounds will be much easier.

It’s bad for your teeth

We are all told this as children, it doesn’t stop us of course, but sugar rots your teeth and leads to gum disease. So, if you want that pearly white smile, best to avoid it as best you can.

Sugar contributes to diabetes

People with large sugar intakes are much more likely to develop type-2 diabetes.
The issues surrounding diabetes are complex. Sugar by itself is unlikely to be the direct cause of diabetes, however, it does contribute, you are much more likely to get type-2 diabetes if you are overweight. Other factors include genetics, and fatty foods.

It’s bad for your skin

We’ve all seen spotty teens running around and our first thought has been too many sweets. Well, we aren’t entirely wrong there. Too much sugar causes your insulin to spike which leads to inflammation through your body. This Inflammation produces enzymes that break down collagen and elastin, resulting in sagging skin and wrinkles.  Aside from increasing the effects of ageing, sugar can also exacerbate skin conditions like acne and rosacea.

Winter Skincare

It’s bad for your heart

“When glucose spikes after eating sugary food, our insulin increases to compensate for it, and this activates a part of our nervous system which increases blood pressure and heart rate.” High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease, as is diabetes and obesity, both of which have been linked to excessive sugar consumption.

Sugar also increases unhealthy blood fats called triglycerides in the blood, which up the risk for heart disease and stroke. In one April 2014 study, those who ate the most added sugar were most likely to die from heart disease than their counterparts who consumed the least.

It makes you tired but won’t let you sleep

We all feel like we need a quick sugar pick me up sometimes. I personally keep some dark chocolate in my gym bag for if I over do it and start feeling faint. However, consuming sugar gives your body a sugar spike which then forces it to over compensate by producing more insulin. This means the sugar spike lasts only a short period of time and then you crash. You then crave more sugar, and you begin a cycle of sugar spikes which could be detrimental to your sleep.

Sugar could very well be addictive

Although the verdict is still out on this, you can’t argue with the withdrawal symptoms people suffer when they reduce their sugar intake. Nor can you argue with the cravings that lead us to over consume sugars. Both of these things are signs that sugar is addictive.

Sugar is bad for your liver

Like alcohol sugar is processed in the liver.  Too much sugar leads to fatty build ups around your liver. Some studies even suggest sugar is as bad for your liver as alcohol.

What can you do?

  • Cut out fizzy drinks. They taste good, but not only are they full of sugar, our body processes this sugar very easily leading to very quick energy spikes.
  • We’re sad to suggest it, but cut down on your desserts.
  • Exercise frequently. This will give you something to focus on that isn’t your cravings.
  • Check the sugar content of your food. Yoghurt for example often has surprisingly high sugar content.
  • Be careful of fruit juices and smoothies. Whilst they are often sold as ‘healthy’, they can contain huge amounts of sugar.
  • Breakfast cereals are another thing to be wary of. Some of my own favourite cereals like Crunchy Nut Cornflakes are hugely sugary.
  • Jamie Oliver offers some great healthy recipes and advice on sugar.

All images sourced from Unsplash

We are no experts on these matters so please feel free to share any knowledge you have in the comments section below.

Our main sources, which we have linked to at various parts of the article, are:

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The New HBB Branding

Our New Branding

You may be noticing some changes.

This is because we decided it was time to refresh our look and our message.

We wanted to get to the core of who we are and what our bags mean to our customers.

This was no small challenge.

We began by sitting down and asking the hard questions, what are our customers saying about us? To each other, to their friends, and to us?

With this in mind, we began thinking about the HBB identity, where it currently is and where we wanted it to go.

What became very clear, very quickly was that we are many things to many people. But what is our core message?

Comfortable, Practical, Unique.

After hours of brainstorming these three words appeared at the forefront of the conversation.

From this we came to a brand statement that we believe combines these ideas perfectly.

Beautifully Balanced

Balanced not just in the ergonomic, comfortable shape, but as a part of your lifestyle. Perfect for city slickers and country ramblers; for the office or the beach.

The Look

Next we had to figure out what this would look like.

Mood board after mood board exposed some weird and wild ideas.

We settled in the end with a mixture of abstract imagery that display this idea of balance without immediately identifying our product. Perhaps more importantly though is the idea of colour! Bright block colours that match the innovative, exciting and colourful bags that we make.

How does this actualy look?

What are your thoughts?

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5 Common Back Problems And How To Fix Them

Five Common Back Problems And How To Fix Them

Looking after your back is an important part of life no matter how young, fit or flexible you are.

Our modern lifestyles are culprits of a huge array of potential back threats. One of the biggest is the chairs we sit in.

But other things, like heavy bags, bad shoes, even too tight trousers can, over time, lead to a series of complicated and even agonising problems.

In this article we outline 5 common back problems faced by the modern person and how we can start to address them.

#1 Slouching in your chair

Humans are not designed to sit for long periods of time. However, the majority of people find themselves sitting for over 10 hours each day.

So, good posture whilst seated is important.

People often slouch unconsciously, as sitting upright requires engaging a number of core muscles. Over time this places strain on the muscles and soft tissue in your lower, and upper back as well as your neck and shoulders.

What to do:

Begin by being aware of your posture. When sitting, keep your back straight, shoulders back and abdomen tucked in. At first this will be uncomfortable as your muscles aren’t conditioned to work like that, but keep at it!

Stand up and walk around every half an hour or so, even go so far as to do a few stretches by your desk.

Exercises to help:

  • Plank/ Side plank
  • Hip thrusts
  • Lunges
  • Seated row

(Scroll to the bottom of the article to see more details on these exercises.)

 

#2 Flat Back

A flat back causes you to stoop. It means your back is straight instead of naturally curved with the pelvis pushed forward.

This can make it difficult to stand for long periods of time, adding all sorts of aches and pains to our back muscles.

Spending long periods sitting down can also contribute to a flat back.

What to do:

Flat back is likely an indication of weak core strength, so you are going to want to start doing regular core strengthening exercises.

  • Plank/ Side plank
  • Leg raises
  • Chest stretches
  • Seated row
  • Pull-ups

The opposite of this is anterior pelvic tilt which causes an excessive curve to the spine. This can be helped with many of the same exercises.

#3 Standing on one Leg

If you’ve been standing for a while you will likely find yourself leaning on one leg, maybe shifting between the two. It may feel more comfortable to do this than standing firmly planted on two legs.

However, when you do this you place extra pressure on the side of your lower back and hip.

If this is something you do a lot, perhaps you work standing up, this can lead to muscle imbalances and muscular strain in the lower back and buttocks.

Other guilty culprits that cause bad lower back and hip problems are things like carrying a heavy bag over one shoulder.

What to do:

Wear a backpack with both straps, distributing the weight evenly. Also, don’t overfill it. If you want a single strap bag, our Healthy Back Bags are specifically designed to contour to your spine, spreading the weight evenly across your shoulders and down your spine.

Strengthen your glutes and lower back.

Do frequent stretches to stretch out those tightening muscles.

Exercises to help:

  • Plank
  • Sidelying leg raises
  • Lunges
  • Squats

#4 Hunching/ Text neck

If you spend your days bent over your keyboard peering into your screen then you might often catch yourself hunching and aches will begin to appear in your back.

Hunching indicates weak upper back muscles and a tight chest.

This type of posture can cause you to develop a rounded upper back with shoulder and back stiffness.

As well as this, when hunched over your keyboard or bent over your phone screen, you may find yourself poking your head forward which can further this problem of tight shoulders.

Correcting a poking chin involves improving your sitting habits and exercises to correct your posture.

What to do:

  • Gently lengthen your neck upwards as you tuck in your chin
  • Seated rows in a gym or pull-ups
  • Chest stretches

 

#5 Rounded shoulders

Rounded shoulders are when you naturally stand with your shoulders rolled forwards. To test this face a mirror and relax. If your knuckles are facing forwards it indicates you have tight chest muscles and a weak upper back.

Rounded shoulders are typically caused by poor posture habits (like slouching), muscle imbalances and focusing too much on certain exercises, such as too much focus on chest strength while neglecting the upper back.

What to do:

Strengthen your upper back and stretch your chest muscles:

  • Plank
  • Seated rows in a gym or pull-ups
  • Chest stretches

 

The Exercises:

Below are just a few exercises you might want to try. If you are unsure how to do any of the exercises, we suggest you ask a professional. Some incorrectly performed exercises can be more damaging than helpful.

#1 Plank and Sideways Plank

Lie on your front propped up on your forearms and toes. Keep your legs straight and hips raised to create a straight and rigid line from head to toe. Don’t allow your lower back to sink during the exercise. Your shoulders should be directly above your elbows.

Alternatively, balance on one side, again keeping the part of your body touching the floor in line with your shoulder and your body rigid and straight.

Focus on keeping your abs contracted during the exercise. Hold this position for as long as you can.

#2 Side leg raises

Lie on your side with one arm tucked under your head. And raise and lower your leg slowly in a controlled fashion.

 

#3 Seated Row (Rowing machine)

This is one of our personal favourites as it works your legs, core, arms and upper back.

Remember to keep your back straight as you move through the motions.

#4 Pull-ups

These require a fair bit of upper body strength. However, you can do assisted pull-ups using various machines in the gym or resistance bands.

#5 Chest stretches

Various yoga poses are excellent for this such as upwards facing dog.

A good stretch to try is standing with your back to a wall, then with your arms at 45 degrees press back against the wall.

#6 Lunges

Step into a lunge lowering one knee to the floor and then moving back into a standing position.

Repeat this with alternating legs ten times (each side).

#7 Squats

With your feet firmly planted on the floor shoulder width apart, lower yourself down as low as you can go without lifting your heels.

Keep your back straight and stay as upright as possible. You should feel like your are about to fall backwards.

A good trick for beginners is to place a chair or box behind you, gently touch the chair or box and then stand up again back up again. This will stop you from tipping backwards.

Alternatively, put something under your heels to tilt you forwards, allowing you to drop further into the squat.

You can find more detail on many of these exercises and on dealing with back problems online in places like the NHS health blog 

 

Share your knowledge of dealing with back pain in the comment section below.