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Top 7 Tips To Improve Common Activities With Proper Body Mechanics
By Raymond Lee
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Before changing any position, your first step should be to focus briefly on your abdominal, hip, and back muscles. These are the muscles that hold your back in the neutral position and keep your motion within the comfort zone. Before you get ready to rise from a chair, for example, take the time to make sure your back is in the neutral position. Hold it in that position by firming your abdominal and back muscles and using your hip and leg muscles to do the work of rising. At first, you will need to consciously remind these back support muscles to firm up and get to work. With practice, the muscles will become stronger and more responsive and you will not need to be as aware of this support phase. Here are some of the tips that you can consider to adopt to train and condition your back support muscles.
- Putting On Socks And Shoes
Sit down and bring your foot up to you so you can keep your back in a neutral position. Or you can place your foot on a stool or chair as long as you make sure that you keep your back in the neutral position as you bend at the hips and knees. Do not bend from the waist.
While standing in the shower, maintain good posture and use a long-handled bath sponge to wash yourself below the knees. In the tub, avoid sitting with your legs straight. Instead, bend one knee to help support your back. Before you sit down in the tub or get out of it, go to a kneeling position and keep your back in the neutral position.
- Sitting Down And Getting Up
When moving from a standing position to a sitting one, stagger your feet so that one foot is forward. Bend at the knees, keeping your back in the neutral position, and lower yourself. Reach with your hands for the front of the seat. Sit on the front edge of the chair, then slide to the back. When getting up, scoot to the front of the seat, stagger your feet, and use your leg and hip muscles to rise. Keep your back in its neutral position.
- Standing At The Bathroom Sink
While shaving your face or brushing your teeth, put one hand on the sink to help support your weight or place one foot on a low stool to help take pressure off your back. When you need to lean over, keep your back in the neutral position and bend at the hips and knees to lower yourself to the level of the sink. Do not slump over or lean uncomfortably far forward.
- Pulling Or Pushing
Position your feet apart, one in front of the other. Tighten your abdominal muscles to support your back and keep it from bending. Keep your hands between waist and midchest height, if possible. Lock your elbows into your sides. Push or pull using the force from your leg muscles and body weight. Walk forward or backward as the object moves rather than keeping your feet planted and bending your back.
Gardening can be tough on your back because it requires lowering yourself all the way down to the ground. Unless you have raised garden beds or do only container gardening, work in a kneeling position. Use kneeling pads, and work within your immediate reach to avoid bending forward. An alternative is to work on all fours, maintaining a normal spinal curvature and supporting some of your weight with your arms. The important thing is not to bend or twist your back. To get up and down, keep the back in a neutral position and use your leg muscles.
- Sitting In A Couch Or Easy Chair
Avoid sitting in deep or soft chairs that are difficult to get out of or promote poor posture. A higher and firmer seat is generally better. Use a small roll or pillow at your lower back if necessary. Make sure that your hips are the same height or only slightly lower than your knees. Do not slump or let your head and shoulders come forward.
Raymond Lee is one of the foremost experts in the health and fitness industry and is the Founder of Bodyfixes Group specializing in body health, muscle development and dieting. He is currently the author of the latest edition of "Neck Exercises and Workouts." Visit http://www.bodyfixes.com for more information.
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Article Submitted On: November 10, 2007