The Dangers in Daily Living: Washing the Kitchen Floor
Housework is one of the main ways that many people injure their backs, by simply not using the correct muscles or joints in the movements required for accomplishing the task.
The main option for cleaning the floor is to use a kitchen mop. If your kitchen is large, then you are more likely to use some variation of a mop. But if you are like me, with a very small kitchen, I just get down on my hands and knees and use a cloth; or if I am lazy, I will push the cloth around with my feet, to clean the floor!
The mop is the kinder way to clean the floor, as it requires very little technical movement, because most of the work is standing. However, as you start the mop forwards and backwards, you need to remember a few important movements:
1. Movement is always a balanced and should be equalized on both sides of your body to prevent any uneven weight distribution.
2. I am right-handed, so when I hold the mop, my right hand is at the top of the mop and my left hand is slightly lower down.
I then mop from right to left across my body and NOT FORWARDS. This prevents bending forwards with a forward lean that puts pressure on your spine.
The left foot leads, taking the body weight as the mop is pushed to the left, releasing the left hand to follow through with the movement.
As the mop is pulled back with the right hand, the body weight is transferred from the left foot back on to the right foot and the left hand holds on to the mop at the end of the motion.
This provides a symmetrical balanced motion in moving from left to right across your body, with your legs relaxed in standing to transfer your body weight from right to left and ‘vice versa in the stepping motion of mopping.
3. If you are left-handed, then the action can be reversed. It will seem almost like a dance movement, because it is based on equal weight balance and transfer of body weight. When you are lifting the mop out of the bucket, it is important to make sure the hold of the mop is wide and central to your body, with your legs remaining flexed to support the weight of the mop. You can always try moving the mop forwards, but don’t lean or reach too much as you will lose the equal balance on both sides.
Mopping the floor does not have to be back-breaking, because it is not necessary to use your spine; if you follow the instructions given above, for using weight transfer movement without reaching on one side; you will get into a rhythm that is exercise orientated instead.
By learning to use a certain style or rhythm in movement, you will begin to see other ways in which you can benefit developing a style in movement that you can use with other household activities, such as vacuuming a carpet. However, it will not work using heavy vacuum cleaners. The next article will deal with a heavy upright vacuum cleaner!