Shrove Tuesday sees most of the UK taking to their kitchens to whisk, mix, flip and fold millions of pancakes. The kitchen is the heart of every home but beware of damaging your back.
Bending and stretching from cupboard to cupboard, lifting utensils and heavy equipment, standing for sustained periods of time preparing food and even washing the dishes – the tasks we undertake daily could be putting us at risk of back pain if attempted with the wrong posture.
Tim Hutchful, British Chiropractic Association (BCA) chiropractor, comments: “It is surprising how much time we spend in the kitchen doing physically arduous tasks that put pressure on our joints and muscles. Even making small changes to your usual routine and thinking more about the movements you make could have a significant difference on your body, leaving you fit, healthy and comfortable enough to enjoy the best part of your kitchen – eating the food you have prepared.”
Make your way safely around the kitchen and maintain optimum posture with the following advice from the British Chiropractic Association (BCA):
Unloading the shopping
· Make the most of home deliveries – they will come to you and save you the stress and strain!
· A weight held at arm’s length can have the effect of being up to five times heavier. Always carry heavy tins or boxes close to the body. Don’t lift and twist when putting the shopping away and be sure to face the direction of the cupboard or fridge
· Store frequently used items between elbow and shoulder height to avoid regularly over stretching your back. Pull-out storage cupboards lessen the need to stretch or strain even more
Cooking up a storm
· When preparing food, make sure the counter top is the correct level for your height. You want to avoid stooping if it is too low or reaching up if it is too high. Preparing food on a deep wooden chopping board can help achieve the correct level
· Lifting heavy pots, pans or utensils can strain your back muscles. Always face the direction in which you want to carry the weight, lift using a relaxed, straight back, make sure your legs are at least hips’ width apart and lift with bent knees
· When reaching into cupboards for ingredients, avoid bending from the waist as it will increase stress on your lower back. Never keep the knees straight, as this could lead to over-stretching and cause damage to your back
Doing the dishes
· Standing up straight whilst washing the dishes, rather than slumped over the sink, could make all the difference to back pain. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and don’t over stretch. If you need to, rest one foot on a stool to make sure you are comfortably positioned over the sink. Raise the washing-up bowl by placing a second upturned washing up bowl underneath it
· Got a dishwasher? Remember to bend your knees and keep your back straight when loading and unloading the lower shelf