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Lifting Tips for New Grandparents

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As a new grandparent, you have patiently waited years for this opportunity. You’ve raised your own children and vividly remember all of the milestones. Now you finally have the chance to hold that precious new grandbaby.

It starts off easy enough, she doesn’t even weigh 10 pounds. But she’s growing fast, and picking her up starts becoming more difficult. The pain may start slow, with your lower back singing every time you lift her. It could also be your knee, or an old sport injury showing itself again. Whatever the cause, there are plenty of ways to injure or reinjure yourself once you begin repetitive lifting of a little one.

Simple orthopedic conditions such as back or knee pain often result from poor lifting mechanics that disproportionately place force through joints with less stability and strength. These aches and pains are not all that uncommon. In fact, over 80 percent of Americans will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives.1 Similarly, it is estimated that up to 25 percent of people over the age of 55 will suffer from some sort of knee pain.2 To help avoid these conditions, you should focus on using proper lifting techniques every time you pick up your grandchild, as well as any object that needs to be lifted off the ground. Here are some simple lifting tips to keep in mind to help prevent injury:

  • Always keep the object you are lifting close to your body. Keeping your grandbaby close to you from the second you start to lift them will dramatically decrease the forces put through your spine and keep your center of mass under your feet.
  • Widen your stance to ensure a large base of support when going to pick up your grandbaby. This will improve overall stability in your posture and reduce the risk of moving in a way that causes pain.
  • Never turn or twist at the trunk when lifting an object, this may produce a painful torsion on the spine.
  • Always bend at the knees and maintain a straight back if possible, with your head and shoulders facing up. Positioning like this will dramatically reduce tension put through the lower back and distribute it to the much stronger and stable muscles around your hips.
  • Make sure to tighten your core and buttock muscles prior to lifting, this will further improve overall stabilization of the spine.

For more specific examples, try these easy lifting options as appropriate:

  • Practice these lifting options with an object like a box before lifting your grandbaby in order to ensure safety.

The Half Kneel: Get down on one knee, maintaining a straight back with good posture the entire time. Lift the object as close as possible to your body. Use both arms to lift the object and step up to rise to two feet. If able, you can modify this by using one arm to hold the object and using the other arm to hold on to a steady surface while you rise to two feet. Make sure that you keep your knees over your ankles and push with your legs, not your back.

Lifting Tips for New Grandparents Lifting Tips for New Grandparents

The Deep Squat: Widen your legs for a stronger base of support and slowly lower yourself by bending at the knees, keeping your hips behind you as if you were sitting in a chair. Put your weight through your heels and turn your toes so they are slightly pointed outward. Lift the object, again keeping it as close to your body as possible. Rise again, making sure to push with your legs and tighten your abdominal and buttock muscles to ensure a stable spine.

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Safety First

Always remember to consult a health care provider to make sure that you are physically fit and able to perform physical activity prior to beginning any new exerciser routine or technique. Should an injury occur during lifting your new grandbaby or another heavy object, request an appointment at your nearest Athletico location to start the healing process.

Request an Appointment

The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

1. Balague F, Mannion A, Pellise F, Cedraschi C. Non-specific low back pain. Lancet. 2012;379(1914):482-91.
2. Peat G, McCarney R, Croft P, et al. Knee pain and osteoarthritis in older adults: A review of community burden and current use of primary health care. Anne Rhuem Diseases. 2001;60:91-97.

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