Thanksgiving is just a week away. It can be a dangerous holiday; I’m not kidding. After this contentious election, there are sure to be heated discussions, icy silences, and maybe even fisticuffs as Republicans and Democrats gather around the dinner table. But that’s not the danger I am talking about--hopefully thankfulness will win out over politics. Every year, a handful of my clients get hurt preparing Thanksgiving dinner. This article will prepare you so you can prevent injuries that would otherwise upset your holiday season.
Problem #1 – Take a 20 pound turkey, put it in a metal pan, load it with moist stuffing and you can be lifting more weight than you do at the gym. There is a good reason that the gym doesn’t have a weight bench or machine where you bend over as you twist to one side with your arms outstretched holding a heavy weight. That’s a recipe for straining your low back.
- Possible Solution A – Appeal to the younger, stronger people who are lounging on the couch watching Dallas beat Washington. You’ve done the preparation, let them do the heavy lifting. Before the coin toss, let them know that they will need to hit pause to come into the kitchen and take the turkey in and out of the oven several times. There’s no free dinner!
- Possible Solution B – Treat this task as a weight lifting exercise. Engage your core as you lean over. Bend your knees a little. Keep your arms as close to your sides as possible without burning yourself on the hot oven. And exhale as you lift or extend.
- Possible Solution C – Cook a smaller turkey, maybe even a turkey breast or chicken to lighten the load.
- Possible Solution A – Take several trips and limit each load to a sufficient weight that you are building strength, but not enough to overload your body.
- Possible Solution B – Follow the guidelines above for using your core and breath to help with the heavy lifting.
- Possible Solution C – Call on the football fans to help. Maybe it’s the job of the people who are rooting for the team that’s currently in the lead. They don’t need to cheer as much.
- Possible Solution A – When leaning over keep your spine straight and bend at the hips. Draw your belly button in toward your spine to protect your low back. When you can’t hold this posture, take a break.
- Possible Solution B – Avoid a dish washing marathon. Wash a few then sit down to watch a few first downs or Snoopy dressed up as a Pilgrim. Washing dishes only during commercials will give your back a break.
- Possible Solution C – Start a new trend: Nice paper plates and silver could just be the next cool thing.
After hours of planning and preparing for Thanksgiving, you deserve to take some rest time for yourself. Make time on the weekend for a restorative yoga class, a walk in the woods, or other activity that feeds your body, mind and spirit.