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Monday Top Tips: Safety Tips for Heavy Lifting

A young woman decorating her house for Christmas.

With the holidays just around the corner, each of us will be busy and on the go. The last thing on our minds is safe body mechanics while decorating our home or lifting a heavy package, but they’re important! Here are 3 tips to help you protect your body as you lift, bend, and maneuver this holiday season:

1. When picking up that heavy package off the floor remember to:

  • Separate your feet for a wide stance
  • Stand close to the package
  • Bend at the knees and hips as you go towards the floor. Do not keep your legs straight and round your back forward, as this will lead to injury.
  • Keep your back in a neutral position by keeping the lower back slightly arched
  • Tighten your stomach muscles and lift with your legs
  • As you pick up the package, bring it towards your body and hold it close to you (this protects your back)
  • Do not twist your back as you move the package. Face the package as you lift it, and then move your whole body around to face the spot where you are placing the package back down.

2. Keep reaching overhead to a minimum:

  • When decorating the top of a tree, mantle, or doorway, use a step stool so that you are working at face level
  • Do not work with your arms overhead for long stretches of time. This puts too much strain on the shoulder, and tendonitis can develop.

3. If it looks like it MIGHT be too heavy, IT IS! Use the buddy system or ask someone with more upper body strength to lift the package. Don’t risk hurting yourself. Have a safe and injury-free holiday season!

Liz Penn is a Physical Therapist and Certified Integrated Manual Therapist at the Joint Mobility Center at Hospital for Special Surgery.



The information provided in this blog by HSS and our affiliated physicians is for general informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual problem you may have. This information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified health care provider who is familiar with the unique facts about your condition and medical history. You should always consult your health care provider prior to starting any new treatment, or terminating or changing any ongoing treatment. Every post on this blog is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the official position of HSS. Please contact us if we can be helpful in answering any questions or to arrange for a visit or consult.