The study of body mechanics is the study of how we move. It includes:
Using muscles effectively
Using good posture
Taking advantage of momentum
Body Mechanics training can help you to become more aware of how you move. It can reduce the strain caused by repetitive or overly contorting movements. In the hospitality industry musculoskeletal injuries are prevalent.
Back injuries in particular are of high concern. Here are a few risk factors that can cause or contribute to back injuries:
Slouching while sitting
Jerky or twisting movements.
Bowing your back while lifting, bending, or reaching.
Get closer - Reaching for something strains your back. It also messes with your center of gravity and makes a fall more likely. Just take a step closer and reduce your risk dramatically.
Steady as a rock - Widen your stance while standing or lifting to increase your base of support. A strong base is a good place to start.
Obey Gravity (It’s the law) - Everyone has a center of gravity. Imagine a line running from your head through your spine and down to the ground. Keep that line vertical and you’ll be better balanced than your coworkers.
Bigger (in this case) is better - Use larger muscle groups when possible over smaller ones. For example use your leg muscles when lifting items and not your back. Don’t be a human corkscrew- Avoid bending and twisting at the same time, it over taxes your muscles and tendons.
Find the rhythm - One way to avoid straining is to go with the flow of a task. Arrange jobs and tasks in such a way that one flows physically into another. Doing this enables you to work with the momentum of the body. It’s the difference between slowly turning around in a circle and twisting around from the front to the back, and from one side to the other.
Ask for Help -Encourage a culture where you and your team act as one. Asking for help should be embraced. Knowing you have the support of a team enhances trust and community. It prevents employees from over taxing themselves. Encouraging employees to overdo their tasks and compete at physical levels beyond their abilities causes more injuries in the long term than time savers in the short.
It’s easy to get lost in a repeating task. Once we’ve learned it and it has become automatic, we stop thinking about how it’s done. If aches and pains in your back or joints are normal for you, perhaps it's time to consider a new way of doing the job. One that helps you be aware of your body movement and helps you adjust the task so that there’s no pain from lengthy repetitions. Body mechanics training can do that for you.