Do you, like many people, lift heavy objects without really knowing the right way to do it? Maybe youâ€™ve pulled a muscle in your back before when picking up a large container. Simple actions such as dragging a heavy box behind you while bending at the waist and pulling with the back muscles can be painful and could lead to injury. And beyond that, many people assume that lifting with the arms is the best way to pick something up. The following tips outline some common misconceptions and will teach you the right way to lift ergonomically so you can avoid injury.
The first thing to do before lifting a heavy load is to take a minute and assess everything. Are you sure that you can lift the load alone? Are there any obstacles in the way that may be a hazard? Make sure you know how far the load needs to be carried and for how long you will be carrying it. Just being prepared can help you quite a bit.
Once youâ€™ve assessed the load, you will want to begin by standing with your feet shoulder width apart. This is important because it will keep you stable as you lift the object and will help prevent a potential fall. Once you have a solid grasp on the object, carry it as close to your body as possible. This is important for a few reasons: holding an object close reduces the load on your muscles while also ensuring that the object is not at the end of your reach. When something is at the end of your reach, you become unstable and could possibly fall.
You also will want to keep your back straight. Many people believe that the strongest muscles in the body are those in the back; however the strongest muscles are actually found in your legs. Keeping your back straight will provide more stability when lifting. To utilize your leg muscles, bend at the knees and slowly stand while keeping your eyes on the loadâ€”and, again, keep that back straight! To further protect your back, tighten your stomach muscles during the lifting process. This will prevent you from exerting too much pressure on your spine.
All in all, follow these tips to safely lift large loads. Remember, thoughâ€”if you think something looks too heavy, ask someone else for assistance