Lifting. Twisting. Reaching. Stretching. Exerting. Hauling. Sounds like a real workout, doesn’t it? Well it’s not a traditional workout; these are all the movements you make while you rake leaves, hang holiday lights, and move furniture around for big family gatherings. Did you know that simply pulling an 18-lb turkey out of the oven can cause back strain or aggravate old elbow and wrist injuries?
Before you call your local restaurant to make reservations or decide to forgo the holiday decorations, learn the simple ways you can protect yourself this season… while still doing the activities that you love.
1. Remember to use your buttocks and thighs! We have been told to ‘use our legs’ forever. However, one of the biggest muscles in our bodies is our gluteus maximus, our butt. Sitting back on your heels and pushing your hips and buttocks backwards puts this big strong muscle to use rather than your low back or shoulders.
2. When picking up things that are large, not necessarily heavy, try to get close to the object and pull it as close to your body as you can before lifting it. Think about hugging it close and standing rather than reaching away from your body.
3. For small and/or light objects try and do the ‘golfer’s pickup’. This is locking one leg and hinging on that hip and lowering your whole body over that stance leg. Use your hip instead of your back just like a golfer picking up a golf tee or ball.
4. Try to turn your whole body when lifting and lowering items, rather than twisting at the waist. One of the most common low back injuries occurs with bending and twisting simultaneously. Turning your body and bending forward will spare your low back some pain.
Easy, right? You are the only one who can care for your body- keep it healthy and strong this holiday season, but if you do feel a strain or an activity brings on some pain- schedule an appointment with me.
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