Every year, millions of Americans are injured while doing common household tasks. In fact, an average of 21 million men, women and children nationwide visit a medical facility each year because of unintentional injuries in the home, according to the Home Safety Council’s 2004 State of Home Safety in America report. In my 25 years on this planet, I have discovered a few helpful hints to keep you out of the emergency room and in your den, kitchen, boudoir or rumpus room (whatever the heck a rumpus room is).
Get Some exercise Every Day
I live on the third floor of a house in Oakley and because I like sleeping, being clothed and generally being able to use my stuff, I have to walk up two very long flights of stairs, every day, several times a day. If it’s a laundry day or I just feel like escaping heat exhaustion, the basement adds another long flight of stairs. Running up and down my very own built-in StairMaster is a great way to get exercise. Just by living my everyday mundane life I am strengthening my legs and sculpting my glutes — yes, that’s right, sculpting my glutes. My suggestion is to find something in your home that can double as exercise and then go out of your way to do it more than you normally would. Lift some groceries, a few kids, maybe that canned ham that your mother-in-law got you three years ago but is still hiding in the back of the pantry. If you don’t have groceries or kids or a ham, then borrow from your neighbors. These exercises will come in handy when you need to lift groceries, kids or a ham in “real-life.”
Open a Window and Protect Your Airways
This one is simple. Don’t spray chemicals near your face without protection. I had the distinct pleasure of having my ocular cavities doused with flying insect killer one summer when I was working as a lifeguard. I would not recommend it to anyone. I know it seems simple, but something as routine as putting on a mask or protective goggles would have helped a bit. The same can be said of any situation where paint or strong chemicals are being used. A mask, a fan and/or a few open windows could be the distinction between saving a couple thousand brain cells and watching those little suckers fly out that window you forgot to open.
Watch Your Back
I hate it when people tell me how to lift. I will lift how I want to lift, thank you very much. Although it is the correct way to do it, I can’t squat 200 pounds, so I am forced to use my back in certain situations. Just make sure that your lower back is rock solid. Sitting up straight will align your spine and force your muscles around your core to engage and strengthen. Therefore — wait for it, wait for it — you will decrease your chances of throwing out your back. It also helps when you’re in the garden, pulling weeds or sitting at a computer. Spending all day hunched over is killer on a weak back.
Have a Son
I am convinced that my mother had a baby boy (among three girls) for me to help out around the house. I kind of grew to relish my role as the gross insect-killing, high-dish-retrieving, lawn-mowing, toilet-scrubbing, heavy-thing-lifting, tree-trimming, power-washing, concrete-smashing, weed-pulling, garbage taker-outer. You will never injure yourself if your son, husband, boyfriend, little brother or the male neighbor is doing the job for you. And let’s be honest: when you’re happy, we’re happy.
Other Home Hazards
Click here for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s top five home hazards and ways to avoid them.