Laura’s Handy Hints for Moving House, Pain-free!

Moving house can be a rollercoaster; exciting but physically and emotionally draining. I recently bought a house and did the all-important move last weekend. Whether you have done it once or 20 times, it can be tough! I wanted to share with you my top tips for avoiding injury and taking care of yourself when moving house.

1. Activate your core

When you lift a box, a bag or a bit of furniture: use your core and breathe.

You may have heard the term “turn on your core” or “use your TA”. When physio’s say this, we are basically asking you to recruit the deep muscles that support your spine. You can do this by gently tensing your lower tummy. It may feel weird if you haven’t done this before; come see us if you would like a hand with getting this muscle working. After having a lot of practice myself, it becomes second nature over time. When I was tiring there were definitely a couple of times I forgot to do it – and I knew about it afterwards.

2. Breathe

If you hold your breath, it is really hard to activate your core. So even if you aren’t sure if you are turning on your core muscle correctly, then make sure you breathe as you move. For example, when I was helping my partner lift our desk and we were standing at each end of the desk, I would breathe in first then breathe out as I lifted up the desk.

3. Listen to your body

It’s simple. If your body is quivering at the thought of lifting that 3 seater sofa – don’t do it! I knew that my move had to be completed in a weekend and we would be pushed for time, so my partner and I carried all the small things and we hired a removalist truck to move the bigger furniture.

If you have lots of time, the right equipment (big cars, sack trucks) and you are confident in your physical condition, you might not need to hire a removalist. But if you are really busy, time and resource poor, you should acknowledge that and get the help where you need it.

4. Pack smarter: Think outside the box

It doesn’t all have to be in boxes; and the boxes definitely don’t have to be big. Sometimes it’s better to get lots of small boxes and bags (the canvas reusable ones you get when grocery shopping are fantastic) to put your things in so when you have to move them, you can carry smaller loads and avoid over straining.

5. Do things when you are at your peak

When do you function best? I’m a morning person (hence why I run a 7.15am Stretch & TaiChi class!). Therefore, I woke up really early on Saturday morning and started loading my car. When I try and do physical work late at night, I don’t think about breathing or using my core as I’m just too tired. But I know some night owls who are more mentally alert when the sun goes down. So plan your moving period and get the work in when you will be the most efficient.

6. Congratulate yourself

“Yes we’re in, but maybe I’ll just sort that box of beach towels and grandma’s old cutlery set before I go to bed…” – NO, you won’t. It was my lovely partner who had to reinforce to me; there is a time to stop. There’s no point adding things to your immediate ‘to do’ list when you are tired. When you’re finished the initial move, give yourself a pat on the back. You should congratulate yourself! Why not book yourself a massage with Alan, just as a little reward and w well done.

If you would like more tips on lifting or manual handling in general, please make an appointment with me and I would love to help you; We are here to help make your life easier!


Physio West | Physiotherapy, exercise therapy and massage services in Adelaide, South Australia.

Laura Hundertmark, Physiotherapist

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