Whether the new year means lifting weights to get in shape or lifting boxes as you clean out some clutter, it’s important to keep these five things in mind so that you can stay strong and healthy.
Keep a wide base of support
Stand with your feet separated and lined up just past you shoulder width, creating a wide base of support. This increases your balance and stability and allows you to use your leg muscles more than your back muscles.
Squat down bending at the hips and knees rather than the back.
Bending forward from the back puts too much load on the fibers that hold your discs in place. Too much bending and lifting or lifting too heavy of weight, with poor form, can cause disc slippage or herniation.
Don’t arch or lean back with your upper back.
Just like bending forward and lifting is bad, bending backward is as well. Bending backward puts added pressure on the bones and discs in your back and can also pinch your nerves. Keep a straight spinal posture by contracting your abdominals by pulling belly button in towards your spine to flatten your low back. Your abdominal muscles are your body’s built in corset that provides stability for the spine. If you engage those muscles while lifting and keep a straight posture, you will minimize unnecessary stress on your bones and ligaments.
Hold the load as close to your body as possible, at the level of your belly button.
Keeping the item close you your body lowers the amount of forward weight and makes it easier to lift against gravity. It also sets you up for having better spinal posture. This will decrease the chance of suffering an injury.
Use your feet to change direction, taking small steps. Do not twist at your back.
The most common injury happens when someone is bending forward and twisting their back while lifting something from a low level. Twisting is the motion that causes the most damage to the discs in our spine. Instead take small steps and turn your body as one. This will save your back in the long run.
If you or a loved one is in need of Physical Therapy, give us a call today at 586-323-2957 to set up your FREE 30 minute screening.