As the hustle and bustle of the season is upon us many of us are rushing out to do last minute power shopping. Trying to get it all finished in time we tend to start forcing ourselves to just shop until we drop! However, you may want to rethink the way you shop because it could end up causing more aches and pains for the season! End results could be anything from aching and sore muscles to slips and falls that could put you in the hospital.
All too often we overload ourselves while shopping during the holidays. It starts with the ladies carrying a purse; quite often the purse is extra large and packed full of items they’ll need throughout the long shopping day. It’s not unusual for many women to carry purses weighing a couple pounds or more! Shifting that weight onto one side of a shoulder can cause all types of issues with your body. Carrying a heavy purse can disrupt your spinal alignment by pulling you to one side or another. It can also wear on your neck and shoulder area as the weight pulls down on you. The added weight to your body alone can add to more aches and pains in your legs, arms, and feet too. Simply put, a heavy purse added to tons of shopping bags can just be the start to your shopping woes.
Many times when we shop we tend to want to get as much done as possible, all in one trip. This can mean shopping for hours upon hours, continuously adding more and more shopping bags to your arms and hands. The additional weight alone can cause problems to your spine along with strains, sprains, and overuse of muscles and tendons. Weighing down the body can cause aching legs and feet and even throw the body off balance, causing slips and falls.
Here are a few tips for when you go out shopping this year:
- Consider a small backpack, instead of a heavy purse.
- Take your bags to your car often instead of trying to carry them all at once throughout the day. Make sure you put them safely in your trunk out of sight!
- Have your cashier keep the bags light so that when you are picking them up to load into and out of your car you don’t twist and hurt yourself with excessive weight.
- Carry your bags equally on both sides of your body and use the shopping carts, if available, so that you can minimize the unnecessary stresses on your body.
- Lift heavy items with your legs, not your back. Keep heavy items close to your body and carry them between your shoulders and hips. Better yet, ask for assistance at the store and have heavy items lifted and loaded into your car for you.
- Take breaks often. Sit down and take a load off your feet and back, especially if you’re shopping in malls and large shopping areas. Generally the floors are not complimentary to hours of continuous walking.
- Wear comfortable shoes that will not only help keep your legs and feet comfortable; but it will also help your back. Don’t wear heels or shoes just to be fashionable, as they’ll not only end up giving you aching feet but could end up adding to slipping or falling; especially on wet wintery floors.
- Avoid shopping during peak hours. By shopping during off peak hours you can avoid standing in long lines waiting. Your feet and back will thank you later!
- Pay attention to your posture. You may find yourself slumping over and leaning on shopping carts or allowing too many bags in your hands pull your shoulders over into a rounded position. The end result will be a sore back, neck and shoulders. Keep in mind to stand tall and strong while waiting in line too.
If you find yourself overdoing the shopping during these hectic holidays don’t forget that Live Your Life Physical Therapy through the Live Your Life TALL & STRONG wellness program can help address your aches & pains and prevent your injury from reoccurring by developing a customized, preventative program for you. Strengthening your muscles can help you handle the extra stress you’re sure to feel over the holidays and stretching out your body to be a little more flexible can end up being a major benefit of physical therapy that can help you get through your holiday chores.
Don’t be in pain over the holiday season. Call Live Your Life Physical Therapy today if holiday shopping has been a real pain in the neck for you. We can help you feel your best and enjoy these special times with your family and friends.
Dedicated to keeping you healthy & active,
Dr. Eva Norman
President & Founder
Doctor of Physical Therapy