I often talk about body mechanics, and write about it, as it is so important in preventing injury. Not only is it important in injury prevention, but using correct mechanics makes our lives easier and now you are working the appropriate muscles.
We can learn so much from observation. If you watch infants and toddlers as they progress through their motor development, you notice how perfect their posture is and how well they use their bodies to correctly pick up a ball. Do you ever see an infant slouched when sitting? Or a toddler bend over from the waist to pick up a ball?
As we age, we start changing our mechanics with activities and then create imbalances in the muscles we use. As we continue on this trajectory we begin to overuse muscles and begin to feel pain. Our bodies are telling us, through pain, that something you have just done is incorrect and you should try to change that action to prevent further injury.
So let’s talk about the basics. Sitting and rising from a chair (or toilet). I often hear people tell me that it is getting harder to stand up, the knees hurt, or they need to hold onto something to rise because they don’t feel strong enough.
This action of sitting and rising actually is all about transferring your weight, not muscling it up. If you are having difficulty rising, more than likely your weight is sitting on your heels. Well if the weight is behind you, where will you go – backwards. If you don’t put weight through your legs you can’t use them effectively.
How do you rise then? Have your feet placed in line with your hips and preferably parallel. Now here is the trick – lean forward so your weight is over the center of the arches of your feet. When you lean forward, you need to lean from the hips and not the waist. As soon as you bend from the waist, you have rounded your back and your looking down. Usually you will move in the direction of your gaze, so even if you have weight over your arches but you are looking down, that is where you will go.
Now that you have your weight in the center of your feet instead of your heels and your spine is straight, it takes no muscle power to stand because you are already rising. Once on your feet, bring your buttocks forward to stand up rather than the trunk backwards. This will get you to activate your core and prevent back injury.
When done correctly the movement is easy and smooth. I even had a 97 year old woman learn how to get out of the recliner and tell me that was so easy! Why was it so hard before?
Remember to transfer your weight and keep the spine straight.
If you are still not sure if the mechanics you are using in your daily activities are creating the pain you are having, click here to schedule a call to discuss how we can help you?
Happy rising and sitting down!
To Your Health,