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All you survivalists out there have surely dealt with this problem. Lifting and carrying all those supplies, tools, weapons and bug-out bags takes not only time, energy and all your willingness to do the right thing… but also a lot of sometimes painful effort, caused by the heavy lifting.
And that can slowly (and painfully) kill your back, if you don’t protect yourself. And you don’t want to be caught off guard when disaster strikes. Your family needs you healthy and ready to face any kind of emergency situation. You need to be able to run with that backpack on your back or even to painlessly carry around one of your injured loved ones, if that would be the case. If your back is already destroyed, you won’t have an easy time of it and could even be simply unable to do what’s needed. If you’ve ever had back pain so bad you can’t walk, you’ll know what I mean. So have a look at the following advice on how to protect your back and joints while lifting weights.
It’s very important that if at all possible you don’t lift or carry around something that weighs a lot more than you do or has an awkward big shape. Do it with somebody’s help or don’t do it at all. When and where possible, reduce the weight of what you lift and transport. For example, when you pack the perfect bug-out bag, shave off as much weight as possible by getting rid of all the heavy stuff such as: big guns and ammo, electronics that are not crucial for your survival and other useless gadgets, fresh fruits and veggies that will spoil quickly, games and so on.
Other ways you can reduce weight:
– Make sure you don’t wear heavy, uncomfortable clothes and shoes.
– Keep the things you are most likely to use and lose the things you are least likely to use
– Carry items that fulfil more than one purpose
– Don’t take your kid on a piggyback ride every time he asks for (if he can walk by himself, is not injured or too tired you don’t need to break your back with that extra weight).
Shift, don’t lift
In those specific cases when you definitely can’t reduce weight, try sliding objects or pushing them, rather pulling. You can use assistive devices such as transfer belts, sliding boards or draw sheets to move heavy objects and people. Find out more here about safely using a transfer belt with people, for example.
Also, use a trolley when you go shopping and a wheelbarrow for carrying supplies. This protects both your back and joints.
Bend and lift correctly
How you bend to pick up something, for instance, is also very important if you want to protect your back and joints. A lot of people do it all wrong. Good bending gives a natural built-in stretch to the lower spine so next time you want to reach the lower shelf, do it like in the image bellow:
You can find more on this matter here: How to fix lower back pain without drugs or surgery.
How you lift objects is also very important, whether you have chronic back pain or a healthy, pain-free back. You have to lift heavy objects in a safe and supportive way if you want to prevent injuries. Here is a very useful lifting technique to avoid low back pain, via Wikipedia:
Identify moves that cause pain and avoid them
One of the first things you need to do is be aware of how you use your hands and body. Identify what movements cause pain and avoid them. If it hurts to lift things with only one hand, do it with both. If you can’t use one shoulder to carry a bag, use both of your shoulders to spread the load (it is actually the right way to carry weights). Watch your body and listen to it, it will tell you what to do.
Other useful tips
– take frequent breaks to rest when lifting weights and carrying heavy objects
– plan your moves ahead and don’t hurry
– tighten your stomach muscles every time you lift weights
– before lifting, position the object close to your body
– lift and move slowly and carefully
– when carrying something, spread the weight over several joints
Remember, no one is immune to back injury. Especially us, preppers. We have to deal with a lot of heavy lifting and if we can take the time to prep, we can also take the time to learn the right mechanisms to lift. After all, it takes far less time than what we’d need to heal from a back injury. So use these techniques to avoid damaging your back and creating severe problems like ruptured or herniated disc, spinal curvatures or degeneration.
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