In light of yesterday’s video, “How to make a bed,” let’s talk about squatting. Can you squat down to the floor while keeping your back straight? If there were a 20-lb. box on the floor, could you pick it up by squatting the right way? Can you make your bed without bending your back? Just “lifting with your legs” is not enough for good body mechanics. It must be accompanied by a straight back position.
Unless you have hip or knee problems, you should be able to learn the skill of squatting. First, start with a small squat. Spread your feet apart. Squat halfway down (or less), checking your back position. It should be completely straight the whole time. If you find yourself bending your spine as you squat, then decrease how far you squat down. Practice the partial squat with perfect back position. Then you can increase the depth of the squat progressively. But only squat as low as you can maintain your straight back position. Be careful to limit your repetitions if you get any knee discomfort.
If you cannot squat because of various orthopedic or other medical problems, then you must learn how to do activities without bending your back. Here are some ideas:
1. Sit on a chair or stool when doing tasks such as unloading the dishwasher.
2. Use a “reacher” so that you can pick up light objects from the floor easily.
3. Have a stool or folding chair in every room of the house so they are accessible.
4. Avoid putting objects on the floor (clothes, shoes, bags, etc), knowing that you cannot easily pick them up.