11 Ways to Avoid Back Pain While Shopping
Well, the holiday season is upon us! And, while many of us shop from our computers, often we still find ourselves heading to the local shopping mall to pick up at least a few items to round out the gift giving. Here are a few tips to help prevent back pain while shopping:
1. Plan ahead! Find a time to shop that will be less busy, and plan which stores you need to go to make your trip less stressful.
2. Wear comfortable clothing. Wear a good pair of shoes to walk in, and clothing that will keep you at the right temperature (not too hot, not too cold). Consider leaving your parka in your vehicle to prevent over-heating.
3. Stay hydrated! While you might be 'on a roll' shopping, either taking a water bottle with you, or stopping in at the food court to re-hydrate can ensure you don't get dehydrated.
4. Plan frequent breaks throughout the day. Aim for a break every 45 minutes to 1 hour. These short breaks are an excellent time to eat a quick snack and have a drink of water!
5. Use many smaller bags to carry your gifts. It is better to have many smaller bags, than 1-2 overstuffed and heavy bags. Smaller bags also make it easier to evenly distribute weight.
6. Make frequent trips to bring your purchased items to your vehicle. Of course, ensure they are put in a trunk or covered inside your vehicle to prevent theft.
7. Keep heavier items in the bottom of bags, and lighter items on top. This makes the load easier to carry, with less strain on the back.
8. If carrying many bags, try to have the load evenly distributed from side to side. This helps keep the spine in a neutral position, which will prevent back pain.
9. Ask for help! If something is on a shelf that is too high, or something is awkward or heavy to carry, ask the store associate for assistance! They are there to help, so take advantage! Bringing a family member or friend to help you might also ease the burden.
10. Walk with a purpose! Walking at a brisk pace while browsing the store, and while moving between stores helps your low back muscles to relax. Walking slowly or standing still puts more pressure on the back.
11. Stretch after shopping! You likely just completed a significant athletic endeavour, so taking time to stretch out your back will ensure you don't suffer back or neck pain the following day!