Avoid Injury - Lift like this, not that!

"Lifting any weight over 25 lbs. has the potential to cause injury, especially if you're moving the object from a position below your knees to above your waist or holding it in front of your body," Dr. Bautch says. Among the top triggers that drive patients to his office: lifting kids or pets, placing or removing car seats, removing heavy packages from the car trunk, and carting gardening items. - Here's how to avoid a trip to the doctor's office:

ACT LIKE AN ATHLETE. Before lifting anything heavy, take a cue from Little Leaguers and Olympians and do a simple warm-up. This is especially important first thing in the morning when muscles, ligaments and tendons are tight or if you've been sitting for a prolonged period. Before any lift, pull your abdominals in tight (abdominal draw-in discussed in depth in our TnT Abs DVD) to engage your core!

PRACTICE THE TWO POINT LIFT. Get as close as possible to the object you're lifting, keeping your torso tall (don't lean over at the waist). Use the strength of your legs and butt to initiate and do the lifting.

REVERSE COURSE. "If you always put the car seat in from the same direction or carry groceries on the same arm, break the pattern," Dr. Bautch says. "You need this counter-balance to prevent the muscles from becoming overstretched and to prevent injuries."

DON'T FLOOR IT. Put grocery bags or parcels on a counter, not at your feet. "High is almost always better than low for lifting," Dr. Bautch says.

TAKE A BREAK. If you're hauling heavy things in the garden, divide your tasks to do a little at a time.

Susan Arruda