Real estate professionals say summertime is the “peak” moving season for most people. And if you’ve already moved a time or two, you know that it can be one of the most exhausting, stressful and physically-demanding things you’ve ever done. Once you’ve found that perfect home, then comes the packing and boxes and moving everything from one place to the next. There’s plenty to think about during the process, but strain and trauma to the spine isn’t high on that list. Frankly, I don’t think physical safety is on the list at all for most people.
But it should be. The last thing you need during a transition from one home to the next is to add a debilitating back injury to your “To Do” list. So if you’re planning a move this summer, there are a few ways to avoid injury and lower your stress levels at the same time. Check out these tips for a less painful (to your spine, anyway) moving experience.
Drink Lots of Water
Staying hydrated is good advice for anyone, but if you’re going to be moving, you’re going to be moving. Whether it’s hot or cold outside, lifting and lugging all of your furniture, boxes, clothes, and appliances around is going to cause you to sweat. If it’s temperate, you may not notice, as your sweat just evaporates off of you into the air, but trust me, you’re still sweating.
Your body sweats to keep you cool, which is great, but you need to replenish the water you lose in the exchange. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself getting fatigued. When you’re fatigued, you’ll tend to slouch, and you’ll neglect proper lifting techniques. This is setting you up for disaster and a potentially serious back injury. So, make sure that you’re getting enough water while you’re packing, moving and unpacking. Plus, staying hydrated helps your joints and vertebrae stay lubricated, which is also important for injury prevention.
Lift with Your Legs
This is something you’ve heard all your life, but it bears repeating. If you just bend over with your legs straight and pick up a heavy load, you’re putting a lot of unnecessary stress on your back. Remember, all of your limbs hang from your spine. Injuring it will mean major motion problems and a lot of pain, all over.
Instead of just bending over, squat down, keeping your back upright when you lift a piece of furniture or a box. This will help you protect your spine, and it will strengthen your quads and calves too. You’ll be getting a great leg work out and avoiding injury at the same time. Bonus!
Don’t Overdo It
If something is too heavy for you, get help! Do not try to wrestle your armoire down the stairs all by yourself. You’re seriously just asking for disaster if you do this. For one thing, you’re begging to torque your back, pull a muscle, or otherwise injure your spine. For another, if that thing is too heavy for you to move, dropping it could be both disastrous and expensive. Swallow your pride. Your belongings, wallet and most importantly, your spine will thank you for the extra effort.
Enjoy your new home!