How to keep your back healthy this Christmas

It’s that time of year again, folks.  No doubt over the next month or so you’ll be hitting the shops in a festive frenzy to stock up on gifts and goodies. 

Along with the jumbo tin of chocs and novelty socks there is something else you could be coming home with after a heavy shopping trip this season – crippling back pain.

I think most of you will agree that Christmas shopping is painful enough already.  Follow these top tips to take care of your back and the only thing you’ll need to worry about is what to get your Great-Auntie Beryl this year…

1.  Now is not the time for vanity

Leave the high heels at home.  Wear comfortable, flat, well-fitting shoes to help your spine maintain it’s natural position.  If you carry a handbag, make sure it only contains the essentials and avoid unneccesary weight.  An across-the-shoulder bag or backpack on 2 shoulders are the best choices.

2.  Distribute the weight

A study conducted on behalf of Amazon.co.uk found that some people out Christmas shopping were carrying up to a whopping 8kgs worth of gifts in their shopping bags.  By distributing the weight evenly in each hand you can avoid strain on the shoulders and neck.

3.  Check your posture

With all that weight in your shopping bags, it’s tempting to let the shoulders roll forwards and round the lower back.  This, again creates stress in the shoulders and low back.  By standing tall and keeping your shoulders back and down your muscles will be stronger and more supportive.

4.  Take a break

What better excuse to stop for a gingerbread latte?  Stop every hour or so to take the weight off your feet and give yourself a break.

5.  Check your posture at the checkout

When queueing at the tills, keep a slight bend in your knees as you stand.  Locking out for long periods of time will cause stress on your knee joints and encourage bad posture.  Also take this opportunity to put your bags down and give your arms a break.

6.  Finally, and my favourite of all, avoid the scrum entirely.  Get yourself a cuppa, stick on the Chrismas tunes and boot up your computer.  Shopping online may not feel as Christmassy as it’s high street counterpart but your body (and probably your partner) will thank you.

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