Proper Lifting: The “Do’s” and the “Don’ts”

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When it comes to lifting objects, there are techniques you should always use and techniques you should never use. By following the “do’s” and dodging the “don’ts,” you can help protect your back from injury.

Improper lifting can put you at risk for a wide range of injuries. These include strains, sprains, and other lower back problems. The good news is that these types of injuries can be avoided. The trick is to take your time as you lift objects and pay close attention to your body.

The “Do’s” 
Just as good posture is important when you sit or stand, using the proper technique as you lift objects is also key. To play it safe, use these techniques:

  • Do bend your knees and hips and keep your back straight when you lift.
  • Do keep a wide base of support as you lift. Be sure to place your feet shoulder-width apart and pull your abdominal muscles in tightly.
  • Do stand up straight first if you need to turn and move with an object. Then, turn your whole body while holding the object close to you.

The “Don’ts” 
We all want to look helpful and strong as we help a friend move or carry groceries inside for our spouse. But impressing others should never come at the expense of a healthy back. So be sure to avoid these techniques:

  • Don’t lift objects that are awkward or too heavy for you. This is especially important if you have back pain or a history of back problems.
  • Don’t lean forward to grasp an object. Instead, keep it close to your body.
  • Don’t twist, bend at the waist, or stretch to reach objects.

Keep in mind that regular exercise can help you lift with proper technique and lower the risk of injury or pain. So strive to stay fit to bolster your lifting power.