[fitness friday] 5 Tips for Protecting YOUR Back while you move

written by john c ashworth, ma

produced by Leigh Mills and NBC 15 Madison

I thought this would make a good topic for this week’s Fitness Friday segment with Leigh Mills, because I am moving this week, and I’m no young man anymore. ¬†Not old, of course, just not the guy you see in this photo I uncovered during my packing efforts…the guy sprinting up and down the soccer field and “running like the bloody wind” as one English coach used to put it.

John Ashworth in the corn.

That’s right. That’s me as a twenty year old man on the farm where my wife Laura grew up. Arriving early in the fall for training camp that year. Back then, I could do almost anything without any repercussions on my body. Twenty six years later, my body is in a little different place ūüôā

Packing, lifting, going up and down stairs, reaching in to the van, the truck, and many other tight and awkward spaces places a great deal of strain on your spine and your body in general. Tonight on NBC 15 with Leigh Mills I would like to demonstrate for you five tips for protecting your back during your move this summer. And even if you’re not moving, these five tips will help you protect your back during all of your summer projects ūüôā

First, get your sleep. Rest and sleep are the bedrock of your recovery and when you are performing all of this extra work, your body gets broken down in many ways. ¬†The problem is that when your muscles are tired, they can’t hold you up as well as normal. ¬†This exposes your back as it begins to absorb force that your muscles would otherwise balance more effectively.

Second, drink plenty of water. ¬†Your muscles are full of water and when you’re dehydrated they do not function properly which can add to the problems identified in the point I just made about rest and recovery. ¬†In addition, when you’re moving, you’re working hard and you will become more dehydrated more quickly. ¬†You must think of yourself as an athlete during competition. ¬†Yes, even when you’re just moving!

OK, now to the physical stuff that will help you…

Lift with your legs and lower body. ¬†You have heard this over and over, but here is your reality. ¬†You are busy. ¬†You are tired, and as a result you tend to place your body in disadvantageous positions just to get the job done. ¬†You MUST pay attention to good technique at ALL times, because EVERY little instance where you don’t, your back is absorbing force that can add up to the point where you end up with pain, muscle spasms, and the inability to finish the job you started. ¬†And when it comes to moving, we all know how devastating that can be. ¬†Tonight on NBC with Leigh Mills, I will demonstrate a few different lifting techniques that have helped me a great deal. ¬†I will also show you one squat move in the gym that will help to make you stronger for your moving event, if you have time to prepare and train.

Test the Load.  This one is so important.  Because one of the worst situations occurs when you go to lift something with the assumption of how heavy it might be, and then it turns out to be much heavier.  This leaves you and your body, along with your back and legs unprepared for the load, which sets you up for injury.

Get some Help. ¬†When the load is too heavy, and even when it’s not, get yourself some help. ¬†The more you can share the work, the less strain there will be on you and your back. ¬†If you’re like me, when you move, you get in to the mode of just wanting to get things done. ¬†This leads you to doing more of the work yourself without asking for help, and more work means more stress on your back. ¬†Share the load. ¬†figuratively and literally.

Have fun! ¬†And remember…moving is tough emotionally too. ¬†I know it has been for me. ¬†Leaving my comfortable little neighborhood and a house that has taken such good care of me and my family for so long is not easy. ¬†Those emotions can wear you down too. ¬†Honor them. ¬†Believe in your decision to move forward, and nurture yourself and your family with love and support along the way.






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