How to injure your back while cooking a turkey

That’s right, you heard me – injure your back.

Using poor posture while pulling a 20 lb turkey out of the oven is the easiest way to hurt your back this Thanksgiving.

Here I am showing an example of “bad” movement – back and shoulders hunched, knees locked, not moving from my center:

And here is an example of “good” alignment, knees bent, tummy pulled in, back straight, lifting with my legs not hunching my back:

While the holidays are fun and festive time to enjoy yummy food, friends and family this can also be a time of added stress and tension.  As we head into the holiday season our schedules fill with shopping, parties, cooking, maybe time spent on the road or sleeping in uncomfortable beds.  While I would consider this “good stress” this can take a toll on your body.

To keep your back pain free I suggest you use principles of alignment and mindful movement while cooking your turkey dinner.

Any chef worth his or her salt knows the importance of “mise en place”organizing your ingredients and tools prior to cooking. Here are a few more tips for success:

  • Bring your work to you. Sit at the table to peel potatoes instead of hunching over a counter.
  • Orient yourself correctly. Stand with weight on both feet, knees slightly bent, facing your cutting board, bowl, pot etc…
  • Lower your work area. One of my clients suggested putting the mixing bowl in the sink as opposed to on the counter top.  This keeps you from hunching your shoulders while stirring.
  • Ask for help. Enlist the family – even little ones can wash and peel veggies, the hubby or aunt sis can help you pull a heavy pot of potatoes off the stove.
  • Stop every once in a while and notice your posture.  What muscles can you relax?  Do you need to tense your neck and shoulder to stir that cake batter?  See if you can move from your center, keeping your neck and shoulders relaxed.

Here’s to a healthy and happy Holiday season!

Healthy Back, Neck & Feet