Gym bags causing injury to millions, according to new research

New research shows nearly 2 million (36%)* UK gym goers need to lighten the load after suffering from back and neck pains at least once a week as a result of carrying heavy work and gym bags. The Saucony Kinvara 3** poll shows the array of unnecessary items fitness fans lug around on a daily basis is negating the benefits of their exercise routines by putting their postures at risk of long term damage.



A quarter carry around batteries (27%), fruit (53%), hair straighteners (17%) and even children’s toys (11%) in their gym bags. While over half refuse to leave home without a spare pair of pants (54%) or emergency toilet roll (16%).


Vanity and hygiene were also to blame for weighing down bags, with 5 million UK gym goers (97%) carrying 5-10 products just for grooming and beauty. One in ten of those surveyed admitted to leaving clothing in their gym bags for 1-2 months. Meanwhile twice the amount of men (15%) compared to women (8%) confessed to leaving unwashed clothing festering for a fortnight.


“We need to get the Nation back to basics when it comes to running. Forget expensive gym memberships or lugging around heavy bags – lightweight running gear and minimalist trainers are all you need. The Saucony Kinvara 3 is an award-winning training shoe that is so lightweight, just 220g***, you can get rid of all these random items and just run!” said Jonathan Quint, Marketing Manager for Saucony UK and Ireland.

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The UK regions needing to simplify their stride:

       Gym goers in the East Midlands experience neck and back pain most frequently, with 47% suffering at least once a week, compared to just 23% in the East of England

       The pampering products of Londoners are damaging postures the most with 10% of gym goers carrying between 15-25 grooming/beauty products with them

       The East Midlands are the most hair-conscious with 23% weighing bags down with hairdryers, compared to just 4% of those from the North East


Nick Anderson, Saucony Coaching Ambassador and founder of fitness coaching company Running With Us, gives his top tips for getting back to basics when running…


1.     A good posture is your best ally to avoid neck and back pains.  Always stand tall with a very slight forward lean, your chest out, shoulders back and imagine your head is being pulled up towards the sky by a cord

2.     Tension in the shoulder or neck caused by heavy bags will put additional stress on the upper posture leading to headaches, muscular tightness and ultimately, poor performance.  Avoid that trip to the osteopath by keeping your kit to a minimum

3.     If you must carry a small bag, choose a running rucksack that binds in across the body and fits tightly against the middle of the back as you run. Have it strapped on evenly at all times and make sure it doesn’t move while you run

4.     There are lots of great running clubs out there that take your bags for you, such as


* Research conducted from 13-20th September 2012 by Research Now, with a sample size of 1,024 UK adults who are regular gym goers 


UK ‘Gym Goers’ based on UK Mintel research (2010) that 5.2 million adults have membership of a private gym:


** About Saucony, Inc.: Saucony, Inc., a subsidiary of Collective Brands, Inc., is a leading global running lifestyle brand that fuses performance, innovation and style to create compelling footwear and apparel with its widely recognized brands Saucony and Saucony Originals. Founded in 1898, Saucony continues to inspire runners everywhere with its award winning innovations, including ProGrid™, PowerGrid™ ViZiPRO™ and AMP PRO2™ apparel. At Saucony, a good day is when we get to run. A great day is when we inspire someone else to run.


*** About the Kinvara 3:


Winner of the “Best Natural Running Shoe” award from Running Fitness, “Best Update” award from Runner’s World, and the “Minimalist Shoe Gold Award” from Men’s Running, all in 2012.

Other key features of the Kinvara 3 include:

  • Weight of only 220g (based on a men’s size 8, 190g for a ladies size 6) for a lighter and more flexible running experience
  • FlexFilm technology to secure and stabilize the foot throughout the gait cycle
4mm heel-to-toe offset to create a greater range of motion than traditional running shoes, allowing for a more powerful running stride


  • Memory Foam heel pods in the collar to ensure an ultra-secure ride
  • Available in men’s sizes 7-12, 13 and 14, and women’s sizes 4-9
  • Available in white/citron/pink, blue/white and white/pink/blue for women and blue/citron and black/citron/red for men
  • RRP: £95



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Britain’s got bad posture

Bad back Many of us have a ‘posture age’ much older than our actual age.

An online posture evaluation tool has been launched by the footwear company MBT to tell us what posture sins we commit regularly ( The results from 4,000 people using the site over the summer and autumn were analysed to highlight our worst posture habits.

It was found that only a small proportion of people (14%) had a posture age which matched their real age. Most people had a posture age of at least 8 years older than their real age. A significant number of respondents (15%) had experienced some form of back problem.

The habits which age our backs the most are carrying heavy bags on one shoulder only, sitting slouched at a computer or using a laptop in front of the TV and walking with our heads down.

According to Joshua Wies of the MBT Academy, “Our changing, and increasingly sedentary, lifestyles are bad news for our backs.   Hours spent slouched in front of a computer, dragging a laptop bag to and from work, and a general lack of exercise, are giving us posture ages far older than they should be.  

“There are a number of easy steps that over time will help you take years off your posture age. These include sitting on chairs that support your back rather than being slouched over a sofa with a laptop, getting up to walk at regular intervals if you have a desk job, and taking care not to cross your legs when sitting down – instead sit evenly.”

Bad posture can significantly add to the age of your body over time. To keep a young and healthy body, we should always be aware of our weight distribution while walking, standing still and sitting. Some simple corrections and a little exercise will go a long way to keeping our backs healthy and pain free.

About back pain:

Back pain is a very common condition and can affect adults of all ages.

One in five of us visit our GP every year because of back pain.

In England, chronic back pain is the second most common cause of long-term disability (after arthritis). A recent study found that one in every 10 people reported having some degree of chronic back pain.

About MBT:

MBT produced the original, innovative physiological shoe in the mid 1990s.
MBT was the first company to develop the rounded, unstable sole construction, which today has been copied or interpreted by many brands many times over.

Please visit the website at for additional information.

Top tips on how to avoid gardening back pain


London: Eight out of ten people in the UK suffer from back pain* and more than half put their aches and pains down to gardening**, according to experts.

And those who suddenly take up gardening as a way of getting exercise*** are most at risk. So the specialist back advice website, is offering practical advice and tips on ways to garden your way to better health without letting your back take the strain.

Whether mowing the lawn, planting a flower border or painting the fence, gardening de-stresses the mind and provides a great workout for the whole body to boost all round wellbeing. Gardening can even rival jogging or aerobics as a full-body fitness booster. It works a number of different muscle groups, burns calories – up to 318kcals an hour**** – and incorporates other important elements of accepted exercise regimes, such as stretching, repetition and even resistance training.

But it’s important to remember that gardening can be just as challenging as any other exercise and unless steps are taken to protect the body, different muscles and joints can be put under strain. To help Britons protect their backs, has some new handy health commandments that everyone should consider before reaching for the rake:

o Prepare the body – just as you would with any exercise, put a little time aside before and after each gardening session to warm up and cool down. Decide on a regime and make it a habit every time you garden. Lay on your back on the floor with your legs crossed and pull the knees towards the chest with the arms to give the lower back a good stretch

o Keep pace – while the satisfaction of seeing the garden looking pristine may motivate you to spend entire days digging and planting, it’s important not to overdo it. Divide work into manageable loads and spread this over a few days, and remember to take regular breaks – use the time to re-hydrate with sips of water as this too can help stave off back pain!

o Variety is the spice of life – each time you garden, consider rotating tasks so you work the whole body without putting too much strain on one set of muscles. Try five minutes of mowing and then five minutes of weeding

o Ease the strain – change your position regularly to take the pressure off your back. Prolonged activities where your back is bent can weaken the muscles and leave them susceptible to injury – use a mixture of positions such as sitting, crouching, kneeling and standing

o Recovery time – a nice hot bath at the end of the day, can be incredibly relaxing for the muscles (particularly if your back has been exposed to the cold)

A good night’s sleep on a mattress offering full support for the back is also a must. TEMPUR Mattresses offer the body full support, keeping the spine aligned in the anatomically correct position and relieving pressure off of tired muscles and joints

o Heave ho – ensuring you lift correctly – and only as much as you can handle – is key to protecting your back in the garden. If you are lifting something heavy, keep your back straight, bend from your knees and use your legs (never your back!)

Bending from the knees is also an important tip when digging – remember to work the legs more than the back and bending forward from the hips not the waist to keep the back straight is home to a host of practical advice to help individuals manage back pain on a day-to-day basis, whether at home, work or play. The site offers a wealth of information on the causes of back pain, as well as conventional and alternative treatments, preventative measures and exercises to help ease the pain. Osteopath Geoffrey Montague-Smith is available to provide professional guidance and answer any tricky questions you have about your own back pain.

Visit the site at . For more information about TEMPUR products, visit


Notes to editors:
1. ‘Back on Track’ Guide
o A free consumer advice, ‘Back on Track’, to help those with back pain to combat the symptoms is available by calling: 08000 111081 or emailing:

2. About TEMPUR

o TEMPUR Products conform to and support the individual user by evenly distributing body weight

o The basis for the TEMPUR pressure relieving material was originally developed by NASA to protect astronauts against G Forces during lift off and re-entry to the earth’s atmosphere. Today TEMPUR is the only producer of mattresses and pillows worldwide to be endorsed by NASA and certified by the Space Foundation

o TEMPUR has more than 70,000 medical customers including hospitals, physiotherapists, and medical practitioners

o A trial at the Institution for Clinical & Physiological Research at the Lillhagen Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden tested 23,000 patients over an eight year period of home and clinical use of the TEMPUR Mattress and Pillow. Patients suffered less pain, experienced enhanced deep sleep, and an 83% reduction in tossing and turning when using TEMPUR Products

o A whole host of celebrities are now claiming they have found the perfect sleeping partner – their TEMPUR Mattress including George Michael, Jane Seymour, Paris Hilton, The England Rugby Team, Paul McCartney, David Blaine, The Ozbournes, Kyran Bracken, Claire Sweeney, Charlie Dimmock, Susan Hampshire and Noel Gallagher

o TEMPUR Mattress prices start from £675, and TEMPUR Pillows are priced from £74.95. For more information about TEMPUR Products, call 08000 111081 or visit

Radio frequency cure for back pain

Lisbon: Radio frequency therapy has been successfully used to treat back pain caused by disc problems, in trials by Swiss and Portuguese doctors.

The therapy, Pulsed Radiofrequency Neurotomy, is believed to work by preventing the nerve treated from sending pain signals. The specialists who carried out the trial say the results make radiofrequency a potential alternative to steroid injections.

Most of the patients required no more treatments, although pain levels had originally been so high that all had been scheduled for surgery. But soon after treatment, which involves targeting nerves with pulses of radio frequency, all but one of the patients had returned to work.

It’s estimated that six out of 10 people will have back pain at some time, and many will be diagnosed with a herniated disc, where the cushion that sits between the spinal vertebra is pushed outside its normal position, and comes into contact with nerves. These nerves can become compressed or trapped causing pain.