Thursday, February 09, 2012

Push, Bend, Lift... Safe!

BY Nancy G. Janiola IN 8 comments

A woman’s body is not anatomically designed to carry heavy objects, says Elizabeth Solano, a physical therapist registered in the Philippines (PTRP), and a department manager of the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Center of St. Luke’s Medical Center.

But women (and men) often forget that.

“Normally, we tend to carry heavy bags when our shoulders are not really meant to carry a heavy load”, Solano says.

According to Solano, many of us often commit the mistake of carrying items that weigh 50-70% of our body weight when 40% should be the norm. Worse, we carry these objects without thought of good posture or proper techniques. Not surprisingly, we later complain about lower back pain, frozen shoulders, tendonitis and even slipped discs.

She adds that improper lifting, pushing and bending can strain our muscles, bones and joints.

The physical therapist recommends practicing proper posture as well as doing a simple exercises to gain a strong back and abdominal muscles. This way you will be able to carry more weight and bend, push and lift objects without injuring the body. Solano says that it is also very important to listen to our body.

Take a look at the following illustrations below.

To carry a bag of grocery items for instance, draw it closer to your body to lessen the load on your back. It also helps realign your center of gravity in the proper position. If you’re carrying several bags, distribute the loads. Have one hand carry the handbag, and the other your laptop bag and you will see how you transfer more of the weight to your hands.

Proper posture: Standing straight with chin up, back straight, chest out and tummy in.
Strengthening exercise: Do a lot of stretching, felxibility or strengthening exercises focusing on the back and abdominal and arm muscles. Avoid sitting down for long periods to avoid stressing the back. Try altering your position or standing up or walking for five minutes after two to three hours of sitting down. Insert a bit of stretching as well.

DON’T carry bags by leaning to one side with your arm stretched.
DO support your bag with your hip, while your back is straight.

Lifting requires strong arm, legs, muscles and back, and there are several variations.
Proper posture: The tropid stretching is is done by bending one knee, then picking up the object and bringing it closer to the body. Keep your back straight the whole time. If the object is too heavy, assume the genuflecting position; place the object on one knee but close to the body before pushing yourself up, lifting the item. Or try the “segmental” process, where you get a chair to put the heavy item on before standing up.

Strengthening exercise: Stretch your back by bringing your right arm closer to your left shoulder, trying to reach your back. The left hand should be positioned above the elbow. To relieve stress from your back and and the same time stretch it while sitting down, try opening your legs before reaching down for the floor.

DON’T bend over with arms stretched (puts pressure on the spine).
DO bend arms, knees and hips, so the weight is distributed.

Bending relies on your hip muscles and knees. You bend when you lift, pick something up from the floor, do some exercises, to name a few.
Proper posture: Always maintain a straight back while using the muscles on your hips and knees to bend, especially when reaching down.

Strengthening exercise: Focus on strngthening abdominal muscles, the back, arms and legs.

DON’T “lock” knees and hunch over.
DO bend your knees and keep your spine straight.

It’s not advisable to push objects with your hip because it twists the body the wrong way. It is ultimately bad for your back.
Proper posture: Arch your back, open your legs with one foot forward, and push the object. When sitting down, arch the back, and avoid stooping forward when pushing. You should feel the weight of the load on your arms and upper back.

Strengthening exercise: Activities that strengthen the back and the arms.

DON’T push with back bent and arms outstretched.
DO keep your back straight and bend arms so your legs bear the weight.

(Source: Working Mom, December 2011 issue)


Gemma|My Dailies said...

thanks for the reminders!!!! ang galing ng nag draw ng pics!!!

Clint said...

Women shouldn't really have to carry heavy stuffs. Thanks for sharing.

redamethyst said...

this is really important, yung iba nagagawa ko un don'ts, now I have to always remember the do's

Airra Pingol said...

wow! this is very informative. thanks for sharing :)

Blair Villanueva said...

thanks for reminders :) hahaha im guity

rc gweniful said...

thanks for the tips. but having no help, i tend to carry heavy load all the time. poor back...

Divine said...

I used to follow this but after a while, I am forgetful. Dangerous forgetfulness hehehe! Thank you for the reminder.

Chriselle Sy said...

I'm super guilty of this too! I'll try to keep this in mind! Haha!