There are many components of a successful manual handling programme. One successful outcome is people having safe movement habits when performing physical activities - be it work or out of work.

As outlined in last month’s feature - one of the vital components to creating a habit is deliberate practice

How To Change A Habit

This months' ‘move tip’ is about learning a new physical skill.

We recognise and commit to this with improving sporting abilities and learning other physical activities.

The same commitment is required to apply the principles of our First Move Manual Handling programme.

Take a look at this video of ‘The Backwards Bicycle’ before reading onwards:

The Lower Back Is Not Designed To Twist

This month’s article is about the importance of moving your feet to take care of your back.

Herniated/Ruptured Discs (commonly called Slipped Discs) frequently occur in the lower back. They are very painful and debilitating injuries.

This injury is commonly caused by placing twisting stress on the lower discs of the spine.

The lower five joints of the spine are not designed to twist. They are designed to go forwards and backwards and side to side BUT not for twisting.

The Power of the Flat Foot Squat

First Move principles teach us how to use our bodies safely and effectively to avoid physical strain and injury.

These principles apply in all aspects of our lives be it work, home, sport and recreation.  This month’s article is about the importance of the Flat Foot Squat. 

The loss of the flat foot squat in western cultures is an unfortunate consequence of the ‘modern era’.  

In other cultures, such as Asia, India, Africa and many islands it remains a common day-to-day activity.

The removal of it from our lives creates unwanted physical consequences.

Practice Makes Permanent

First Move principles teach us how to use our bodies safely and effectively to avoid physical strain and injury.

These principles apply in all aspects of our lives be it work, home, sport and recreation. This article builds on the practice principle from last month. We discussed how important practice is to change a habit. 

But how do you remember to practice?

Physical Smarts

Workplace aches are a pain in the butt.

They frequently hurt in the neck and arms, too. And in the back pocket.

Despite the raft of health and safety codes, the manual handling and the computer screen guidelines, workers’ sprain and strain injuries continue to cost New Zealand businesses millions of dollars a year.

So why is it that one bloke injures his back in the loading bay while his nine workmates are fine?

Reduce injuries with sport star training techniques

Love rugby or loathe it, there will be no avoiding this year’s biggest sporting extravaganza. Some of you will watch it live, others will try to avoid seeing it on TV, some of you will rent your homes for thousands of dollars a week, while others wonder what to do with the children and their extra ‘world cup’ school holidays.

Regardless of our attitude to the sport, we are all aware of the hard training those players undertake to ensure peak physical performance and stave off injury. Before the cup, they will be evaluating, practising, fine tuning and practising some more.

We can learn plenty from these sportsmen.

Are Strain and Sprain Injuries making you Sick?

Recent history tells us traditional injury prevention training doesn’t work, and injuries continue even after ‘external experts’ have come in to fix the problem.

So why continue putting time and valuable resources into something that doesn’t work?

After all, one definition of insanity is repeatedly making the same mistake and always expecting a different outcome.

The truth is, training has been given a bad ‘rap’.  Just because training to date hasn’t worked it doesn’t mean training itself is ineffective. But if you want the outcome to be different, you need to change the input.

Conscious Competence


Then think of your workplace like a golf game. Start working on correct physical movement and practice…

Whether you’re driving off a tee or lifting a heavy box, good technique is essential. Repeat either of these activities incorrectly enough times and you’ll likely wind up with pain, injury, ineffectiveness and inefficiency. And in the case of golf – anguish and misery!!!

Why injury-prevention training needs to change under the new HSW ACT

Work-related muscular skeletal injuries are a persistent cost for businesses and individuals.

Our bodies function best with regular movement, varied postures and periods of rest. However, modern working environments generally don’t allow us to move in this way. Many jobs place unnatural, repetitive physical demands on the body - forklift drivers, construction teams and process line workers for instance.

If we can’t correctly adapt our movement to our environment - ongoing discomfort, injuries and long-term physical problems can start to occur.

Relax! Why sitting up straight is not good for your wellbeing

Health and safety officers have long peddled sitting up straight – with your wrists, elbows, hips and knees at 90-degree angles – as the optimal way to avoid overuse and other strain related injuries.

First Move Office is a new injury-prevention programme debunking this postural myth. It empowers employees to take control of their workplace wellbeing and avoid the aches and pains that come with sedentary work.

Three essential elements needed for manual handling training to succeed

There are many contributors to strain and sprain injuries. The aim of manual handling training is to influence how people move and establish safe movement habits – reducing strain related injuries.

For manual handling training to be effective it has to help people change unsafe habits. This is not a quick fix process. It requires specific training techniques and support from management.

These are the 3 essential training elements needed to change unsafe movement habits in the workplace.

Smart Moves for Mum

The principles of safe movement don’t just apply to the workplace. When we do training sessions, we so often hear people say that what they’re learning about safe movement would benefit their partners who have young children at home.

We’ve put together a comprehensive eBook with tips for mums on how to move safely when caring for children and doing work around the house – it’s great for dads too!

Avoid strain-related injuries

If you want to be good at any skill – study the experts in the field.

We know this to be a sensible thing to do and we do it in many aspects of our lives.

Why then do we not apply these principles to manual handling training?

The manual handling experts are in every industry. They’re right in front of us. These experts are the people doing repetitive and heavy tasks day in and day out – with ease and without injury.