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ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER was asked: How heavy can a backpack be before it causes injury to a student’s back? What health hazards can a too heavy backpack cause?

His answer: The general rule is that you shouldn’t carry more than about 1/5 to 1/4 of your body weight. Some people act like two-legged mules and try to carry half their body weight. This can cause muscle pulls and strains, or even a herniated disc. To avoid injury:

  • Balance your pack: Put heavy items (such as textbooks) on the bottom. Make sure your pack is evenly balanced on both sides.
  • Don’t sling your pack over just one shoulder. Use both straps and wear the pack so the weight is distributed evenly.
  • Adjust the straps so they are higher on your shoulders. If the straps are loose and the pack hangs away from your body, this puts stress on your lower back.

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