Holiday Decorating Hazards

For the last six years, my parents and I have spent the weekend after Thanksgiving sharing what’s become a DeAngelis holiday tradition: Dad tinkers with the outside lights, Mom transforms the inside of my childhood home into a winter wonderland and I play the “elf” who transports the decorating supplies from the attic to the ground floor to help make it happen.  Sure it’s a lot of work, but with some good tunes playing (which may include anything from Abba to the “Goodfellas” soundtrack) the day flies by and before we know it, we’re in the true holiday spirit!

As I climbed up to the attic for the first of at least a dozen trips this weekend, I remembered this festive time can also be hazardous if you don’t use some caution. You probably already know it’s not a good idea to jump on an elliptical machine for high interval training following a six-month period of zero exercise. You may have also read a previous post where I described the importance of working on stabilization before strength. While I hope decorating your home for the holidays isn’t as strenuous as your bi-weekly strength training class, I do want to remind you of a few key movements that deserve some extra attention:

  • Lifting: I must have mentally told myself several dozen times during the weekend to not bend over at the waist and pick up that heavy box. Instead, I did my best to turn every box lift into an opportunity to perform the perfect squat. Whether you think you have a “strong” back or not, these are good tips to keep in mind to help prevent back injuries.
  • Repetitive movements: Stringing lights along the outside of the house or tossing tinsel on the tree are a couple of decorating duties that require you to work with your arms overhead for long periods of time. This presents a situation where the latissimus dorsi (the broadest muscle of the back) can become overactive and tight, which can ultimately lead to shoulder soreness. So, it’s not a bad idea to do a couple of  lat stretches before (and after) you get started on any type of arms-overhead activity.
  • Ladder safety: While Clark W. Griswald makes ladder disasters look hilarious in “Christmas Vacation,” (my all-time favorite holiday comedy) in reality, ladder accidents are no laughing matter. Click here for a checklist on proper ladder usage.

If you can pop in a workout DVD, take a walk or hit the gym before the decorating begins, extra kudos to you for burning yet a few more calories during this hectic season! (Just remember not to void all your hard work by having a cookie for each ornament you put up on the tree.) In the end, following a few safety tips and using some good ol’ common sense can help you have fun, be fit and feel fabulous right through the holidays!

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About LauraLovesFitness

After spending more than 10 years in the communications industry, this lifetime fitness lover and newly certified fitness professional wants to share my passion for health and well-being with others.

Posted on November 28, 2011, in Fitness, Health and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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