Festive Friday: Decking the Halls with Caution

As we prepare to welcome December, I realize many people will spend this weekend decorating for the holidays. That means it’s time for those annual rituals including bringing heavy boxes down from the attic or up from the basement and climbing ladders to string some lights.

All that climbing and lifting can make a festive time a bit hazardous if you don’t use some caution. You probably already know it’s not a good idea to jump into a high-intensity interval training program following a six-month period of zero exercise. You may have also read my previous posts describing the importance of building stabilization before strength. While I expect decorating your home for the holidays isn’t as strenuous as a boot camp class, I still want to remind you of a few key moves that deserve some extra attention:

  • Lifting: Over the years, I’ve grown into the role of “good elf” helping my parents get their house decorated for Christmas. Since that involves moving some heavy boxes from the attic to the living room, I have to repeatedly remind myself to not pick up those boxes in a way that could hurt my back. Don’t bend at the waist! Instead, turn those heavy-item lifts 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 around 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. This 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 Chevy Chase’s classic turn as Clark W. Griswald in “Christmas Vacation” (my all-time favorite holiday comedy) makes ladder disasters look hilarious, 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 for a group exercise class 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!

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 30, 2012, in Fitness, Health and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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