Amid the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it's easy to forget about safe lifting.
Before you try lifting dinner for twelve out of the oven, bending over to assemble a new bicycle or squeezing a new 52" television into the back seat or trunk of your car, consider the following tips to ensure you don't spend the holidays flat on your back!
1. Get help.
The best way to avoid injury is to get help from a machine or another person(s).
2. Keep a wide base of support.
Keeping your feet wider than your shoulders helps distribute pressure from centralizing in your lower back. It also will help you remember the next point...
Bending at the knees shifts the weight of the object you are lifting from your low back (small postural muscles) to your glutes (buttock muscles), quadriceps and hamstrings (stronger power muscles).
The simple maneuver of "drawing-in" activates your body's own natural weight belt.
To do this, take a deep breath in (but don't hold your breath) and pull your belly button up and in to the back of your spine (like someone's going to punch you).
Hold this position for the duration of your lift. This braces your low back and will "lock" you into place.
This will help you lift with your head and shoulders first. You don't have to look straight up; keep your head elevated to about 45 degrees; or simply look to where the ceiling meets the wall.
Now you're ready to lift! Stand straight up and you should feel no increase in pressure go through your low back. You can apply these simple techniques in any situation.
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