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Proper Body Mechanics
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
What are proper body mechanics?
Body mechanics refers to the way we move during daily activities. Proper body mechanics can help you avoid injury and muscle fatigue. Follow these 3 guidelines of proper body mechanics:
- Bend at your hips and knees instead of your waist. This helps you maintain your balance by dividing your weight evenly between your upper and lower body.
- Spread your feet apart to create a foundation of support. This helps you maintain your balance from side to side.
- Keep your back, neck, pelvis, and feet aligned when you turn or move. Do not twist or bend at your waist.
How do I practice proper body mechanics?
- When you stand:
- Keep your feet flat on the floor about 12 inches (30 cm) apart.
- Do not lock your knees.
- Keep your shoulders down, chest out, and back straight.
- When you lift an object:
- Your feet should be apart, with one foot slightly in front of the other.
- Keep your back straight.
- Bend from your hips and knees.
- Do not bend at your waist.
- Lift the object using your arm and leg muscles.
- Hold the object close to your body at your waist level.
- Use the same process if you need to push or pull something heavy.
- When you sit:
- Sit with your back straight and place extra support behind your lower back.
- Get up and change positions often if you sit for long periods of time.
- Ask about exercises to stretch your neck and shoulders.
- Adjust your computer so the top of the monitor is at the same level as your eyes.
- Use a paper holder so that the document is at the same level as the computer screen.
- Use a headset if you use the telephone often.
What else do I need to know about proper body mechanics?
- Wear shoes with low heels, closed backs, and nonslip soles. This will help prevent falling and improve your body alignment.
- Pull rather than push an object to avoid strain on your back muscles. The muscles you use to pull are stronger than those you use to push.
- Ask for help or use an available device for assistance. Assistive or mechanical devices help decrease your risk for injury.
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