Lifting and Carrying
Our bodies are tremendously well adapted to a variety of tasks but we need to be careful not to take advantage of this and push our bodies to breaking point. When lifting:
1. Firstly, face the direction in which you want to carry the weight. Always lift using a relaxed, straight back. Make sure your legs are at least your hips’ width apart with the knees bent. Keep your head and shoulders directly above the weight you’re lifting and look straight ahead.
2. Avoid bending from the waist, which increases the stress on your lower back. Never keep the knees straight, as this will lead to over-stretching and damage to your back and never lift while twisting from the waist.
3. Try and lift with a ‘broad base’ i.e. your feet about shoulder width apart or more. This will make you more stable.
4. Don’t lift with your arms straight out, keep the elbows bent and to your side to minimise the stress on your back.
5. Make sure you balance or secure the weight before you start moving. (It is easier to carry a bowling ball in a bowling ball bag than in large cardboard box where it can roll around.)
6. Putting the weight down can often cause just as many injuries as lifting it up. If possible, put the weight on something waist height rather than the floor. If you do have to put it on the floor, try and keep your shoulders hips and knees pointing in the same direction, have a ‘wide base’ and bend your knees rather than your back.
Putting babies in the car
When putting your baby into the car, hold the baby close to you as you move towards the vehicle. Keep your back straight and only bend your knees when you have got as close to the car seat as possible. Only at this stage should you reach out to put the baby in the seat.
If you’re carrying the baby in a chair, rest the chair on the edge of the car seat, then manoeuvre it into position within the car, keeping your knees bent and back straight. Don’t try to reach out too early and avoid bending from the waist.