Following our recent talk about foot mechanics, it seems logical to expand on the theme and talk about Body Mechanics now. The term is at the top of our website, because it is at the heart of everything we do. Here at Physioplus, we treat injuries and ‘wear and tear’ on the body, but our primary aim is to assist everyone who comes through our doors to Move Better, Feel Better and Live Better. And a lot of the things we do to achieve that are preventive rather than prescriptive.
What is Body Mechanics?
Simply put, Body Mechanics describes the way we move when we are doing the things we do as part of normal daily life. Correct body mechanics helps to avoid injury and tissue damage, as well as assisting performance of even the most basic tasks. If you sit right, stand right and lift right, everything works better, so you get better results.
Standing correctly means you have a higher and further reach – that top shelf won’t seem so far away if you exercise proper body mechanics. You’ll be able to lift more weight and carry it further for longer, and you won’t feel stiff and uncomfortable after sitting through a long meeting if your body is properly aligned in your seat.
Three basic rules of Body Mechanics
If all this sounds complicated, it’s not really. It’s a matter of common sense, and listening to your body, because pain is a warning signal that shouldn’t be ignored.
- Stand with feet slightly apart, back straight and knees soft. Feet should keep around 30 cm (12 inches) apart. Improve your stance by pushing shoulders down. This automatically helps straighten the back and push out the chest for a comfortable standing position.
- Bend from the hips and knees rather than the waist. This helps with balance, as your weight is then divided evenly between your upper and lower body. Use the muscles in your arms and legs to add strength to the lift, keep your back straight and hold your burden close to your body at waist level. And don’t be too proud to use any available assistance to lighten the load, whether that’s and extra pair of hands or a weight bearing device designed to help with lifting.
- Keep back, neck, pelvis and feet in alignment when you move. Don’t bend or twist from the waist during normal movement. Remember alignment when sitting, too. Keep your back straight, and sit with your feet flat on the ground, in line with your hips. The right shoes help with alignment and balance, too. Choose low heels, closed backs and soft soles that don’t create resistance when moving.
When you can, pull objects toward you, rather than pushing to move them. This will avoid back strain, since the muscles you use to pull are stronger than the muscles for pushing.
Here at Physioplus Albir, we can help you improve your Body Mechanics. Contact us for your personal assessment. Proper Body Mechanics will increase your range of normal movement and function, and allow you to Move Better, Feel Better, Live Better, whatever your age or fitness level.