Defining the habit
Back conditions and lifting are strongly related. Why? Because we pick up objects in a wrong way. We bend over for an item without considering the tension that we put on our back muscles and without efficiently using the other strong muscles of our body.
Look at a child who picks up a toy from the floor. It’s always by squatting, never by hunching over. Our brains forgot the natural skills that protect us from these biomechanics related conditions such as posture impairments, muscle imbalances, joint degeneration or herniated discs.
Bending over or hinging is a common bad habit that cause huge impairments on our spine. It takes only one wrong move to injure your back. Furthermore, bending over while having a back condition such as herniated disc will bring tremendous complications – degrading your state of health over time, causing financial strain or being time-consuming.
Identify the habit
We want to reintroduce these known skills back in your life. We want to encourage you to develop ergonomic healthy habits for a better way of living. We want to prevent and to promote an easy way of dealing with back conditions, for both adults and children. Because, contrary to popular belief, it’s not about the length of your life, it’s about its quality.
So, we start with a simple task for you. Try to identify during a day, how many times you bend for an object and the way you do it.
What will you achieve?
We set approachable purposes, divided into small tasks. Each part is essential to our final goal: release you from the claws of preconceived customs and introduce you to new healthy habits.
Our goals are clear and reachable:
- Identify the bad habit in your everyday activities
- Learn how to pick up objects from the ground
- Apply the principles in your daily tasks
- Build the new healthy habit
Step by step
Step 1 : Trust your hips
A surprising thing to ask, is it? Many people bend from their lower back and hunch their upper back. This is the perfect cocktail for injury.
To hinge safely and efficiently, you first have you stabilise your body. You can do it by aligning your body so that in a lateral position, an imaginary line would pass through your feet-knee-hip-shoulder-ear. Keep your feet apart so you will have good enough stability. Then you should activate the glutes and the abdominal muscles by squeezing them strongly.
Keep your core muscles involved, as you slowly move your hips backward. Your trunk should be at 45 degrees relative to the floor, in this way your weight centre is correctly dispensed.
It sounds a little complicated, but improper bending is the biggest problem that causes us back pain, so bear with us. For a better achievement of this first phase, please try this exercise in front of a chair and a mirror, if possible. With your feet apart and your hands on the chair, try the movement you see in the image below. It should look like a semi-squat.
Remember to engage your core muscle and focus on the breathing. Repeat until you feel comfortable with the movement. You can try it with your spouse, with a family member or even a friend. In this way, you can evaluate each other, but most importantly you can motivate reciprocally.
This is the correct way of lifting objects and I admit it is a difficult exercise. But every time you do it, it’s a win. You involve the most important muscles in your body. If done correctly you should feel a tension in your abdominal muscles, your glutes, your hamstrings and your upper and lower back muscles. By doing this 15 times a day and you do your workout. I mean it!
Step 2: Squat with your knees out and your feet linear
An important rule to keep in mind is that your knees are not allowed to be positioned in front of your feet.
Step 3: The comeback
Return to the original position by keeping the core muscles engaged in the movement.
In case you have hip conditions, we have one alternative for you.
Here are e few common mistakes that everybody seems to make while trying to integrate those habits in their life.
- Keep in mind to inhale and exhale peacefully
- Try to keep your abdominal muscles involved during the movement so you won’t arch your lower back too much.
- Hold your spine straight while you bend
- Your hips and knees should be slightly bent