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updated: 1/31/2014 11:48 AM

Moms are lifting their way to injury

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Brandon M. Noel

The average 4-year-old child weighs about 35 pounds, which is roughly the weight of two large bags of potting soil combined. You would not bend over at the waist, grab hold of two bags of soil, and hoist them to your shoulder; so why do that more than 20 times each day with your child?

Jan. 31 marks National Pre-School Fitness Day in the U.S., and USA Weightlifting has a few tips for Glen Ellyn moms on how to properly lift your little bundles of joy safely, effectively, and without injury.

According to USA Weightlifting Coaching Education Director Michael Conroy, improperly lifting any inanimate object can cause:

• back pain,

• nerve damage, and

• other long-term problems later in life.

Just imagine what an improper lift of a squirming, fussing, 4-year-old could do to the backs of Glen Ellyn parents.

Whether you are bracing to Clean & Jerk hundreds of pounds on the Olympic platform or simply picking up your child to clean chocolate frosting off their cute little face, Conroy suggests these simple steps:

1. Don't bend: "As soon as you bend at the waist to pick something up, your center of gravity suddenly goes forward. When you do this picking up your child, you're putting unnecessary stress on your lower back, core, and hamstrings."

2. Get close: "The closer you are to the object you're trying to pick up, the safer you will be."

3. Sit down: "Sit down to the object, meaning get on your child's level so you can grasp him/her close to you."

4. Stand up: "Keep your son or daughter close to you as you stand, and you'll find that your little gleam of light is practically weightless."

Multiplied by dozens of lifts each day, these Olympic level steps will keep Glen Ellyn moms healthy and help prevent injury.

USA Weightlifting is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit and the national governing body overseeing the sport of Olympic weightlifting in the United States. USAW is a member of the United States Olympic Committee, responsible for conducting Olympic weightlifting programs throughout the country, and a member of the International Weightlifting Federation.