Ease back, please

The holiday will be here sooner than you think. In the blink of an eye you will find yourself among presents and wrapping papers. If you want to avoid trying to find a doctor at one of the worst times of the year, you should take steps to avoid injuries resulting from bad posture. At one of the happiest – but tremendously stressful – times of the year, you need to take care to keep your muscles relaxed rather than adding additional tensions that may lead to injury.

Here are a few tips to keep you feeling your best:

  • Change the way you wrap presents

    When you sit in a chair at a table instead of on the ground, your stomach muscles are engaged and your shoulders are back and down. Keep wrapping materials within easy reach to avoid awkward stretches. If only the floor will do, sit on a firm pillow or a folded blanket to keep your hips raised higher than your knees. This will relieve pressure on the lower back.

  • Postures in the kitchen

    Women tend to spend more time in this room than any other except the bedroom, so it is absolutely important that they know how to maintain their body there (but the same could be true for men as well). Check the height of your counters before slicing and dicing. Put your arms at your sides and bend your elbows to 90 degrees. The surface should be no more than 5cm (a few inches) below your hands. If it’s too low, stack cutting boards; if it’s too high, stand on a sturdy stool. To reduce back strain, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, shoulders back and knees soft.

  • Using the phone

    Phoning can be very hard on your neck: bending to one side for a long time can cause many problems for your back. Start by using a headset attachment so you can talk hands-free. Avoid using newly free hands for texting or browsing while phoning, because this could easily lead your posture to go astray. In the 21st century we point our gaze down with a bent neck more than ever before. If you don’t have the chance to use a headset, hold the phone with a light, easy grasp, and switch hands after about ten minutes.

Other tips to save your body:

  • Heating off the friends or office holiday party? Wear flats or some other comfortable low-heeled shoes. If you can’t be see without your high-heals, bring a second pair of sensible shoes to change into before and after the party…no one will know.
  • Place a small pillow behind your lower back when seated to support it without exaggerating the natural curve. .
  • Sit on a folded blanket or a pillow to keep your knees slightly lower than your hips and relieve pressure on your lower back
  • At least once an hour, take a minute to get up and stretch.
  • A heavy purse is murder on your spine. Redistribute the weight by clipping it to a wheeled bag and try to ditch as many non-essentials as possible.
  • Try pushing wheeled bags in front of you, such as a grocery cart, for more control and better body alignment.

 

If you are careful and follow our advice, perhaps you will love yourself enough not to over-work the holidays.