Whether it’s a part of your job or relocating your home, the process of moving large, awkward objects is unfortunately an unavoidable factor of life. What’s more, it’s a risky business, with many accidents just waiting to happen, threatening your day with an array of potential injuries and broken furniture. With this in mind, it is essential to educate yourself about the dos and don’ts surrounding the process, applying the best practices to lift the weight off of your shoulders as well as your mind. Here is everything you need to know.
Before you even approach any heavy item, boost your body’s elasticity by stretching, focusing on your legs, arms, and back. You may also want to consider wearing a thick pair of gloves to avoid scrapes and cuts.
Once limbered up, inspect the object carefully. Locate the ideal regions to lift it from, determining its weight and balance. In cases like cardboard boxes, pinpoint potential areas of weakness that may break apart and risk harm. If the item feels a little too heavy for your capabilities, don’t be a hero and endanger yourself, rather ask someone for assistance.
However, if you feel confident enough that you can comfortably transport this article, first establish a safe route from point A to B which has been cleared of any obstructions and possible trip hazards.
Lifting and Carrying
When you’re ready, place your feet shoulder-width apart, and bend with your knees, squatting to meet the item at ground level. Tighten your abdominal muscles, keep your back straight at all times, and lock your eyes to look straight ahead.
Once satisfied that you’ve found a good grip, you are now set to lift. When doing so, use your leg muscles only, never bend your back, and keep the item close to your body. Abstain from raising the object above your shoulder level, and then get moving without ever twisting your frame, changing direction with your feet only. As you walk along, be aware that your shoulders and hips are always in line. And finally, take your time!
Reaching Your Final Destination
Once you’ve arrived at a good spot to unload, simply return to the squatting position using your leg muscles exclusively, maintaining a straight spine, and setting the item down gently to avoid damaging yourself or the goods. And then proudly pat yourself on the back for doing such a great job!
Times You Should Never Lift
If you are suffering from any injury (in particular, back or shoulder related) do not even attempt to transport anything of substantial weight, as this will only aggravate the issue and, worst case scenario, develop into a more permanent problem.
Furthermore, pregnant women should avoid all forms of heavy lifting. This strenuous action can divert valuable blood flow from the uterus to the muscles, and has been linked to miscarriages as well as premature labor. Rather do your part by sticking to lighter items, or use your pregnancy as the perfect excuse to sit down and let others sort it out for you.
Common Types of Lifting Injuries
Probably the most widely reported brand of moving injury deals with the hands, fingers, and toes. Minor cuts and scrapes are to be expected and can be avoided with the correct glove use, but one should be additionally wary of accidentally dropping items on their feet or stumbling with a large load, both of which can lead to sprains or even broken bones.
These painful traumas can prove troublesome enough, but they are nothing compared to the effects of a unnecessarily strained back. Lifting large items can place a tremendous amount of stress on your spine and surrounding muscles, and if not done correctly, could wipe you right off your feet for weeks, and that’s not even the worst case scenario. Retaining a straight back throughout the whole moving process should be your number one priority.
The Usual Suspects
At times, especially after your back and shoulders get tired, people tend to compensate by relying on their forearm and wrist strength, which can lead to tears in these muscles. Workers in the manual labor industry are at a greater risk for this repetitive stress injury. And so whether you are historically predisposed to this forearm muscle strain or have recently hurt these tendon, grab the best forearm workout tool for your condition, and slowly rebuild your strength.
Finally, lifting heavy objects is a notorious cause for hernias, which is when your intestines are forced through a damaged part of your lower abdominal region. Some people suggest wearing a weightlifting belt to hold your insides together, but it is much more advisable to simply avoid overburdening your body’s capabilities, and rather play it safe by hiring a professional instead.
If there are ever any precautions you can take to lighten the load, always do so! One recommended method is to remove the drawers from cupboards or desks before moving them, which will not only reduce the weight, but will also minimize the risk of nasty shin strikes. If you can take apart an item and reassemble it on the other side, this is an even better way to prevent future mishaps.
Or perhaps you can avoid lifting the object altogether? Try pushing (never pulling!) it along the floor using rugs if needs be, or even “walk” the object by rocking from side to side, which works particular well with large fridges or sturdy cupboards.