• Samantha Hvasta, DPT

Work smarter, not harder: Energy Conservation Tips


Make exercises like yoga a priority to maintain healthy joints, and use low impact versus high impact exercises. (Courtesy Photo)

Energy conservation education teaches people to use their energy wisely. Tired muscles are unable to provide adequate support to the joints, forcing them to work harder and causing increased pain, swelling and joint destruction. Muscle fatigue causes disease activity to increase.


The goal of using energy-saving principles is to allow you to increase your activity level while saving your energy, therefore granting you enough energy to continue to do the activities you enjoy! Follow the four principles of energy conservation: Plan, Pace, Prioritize, Posture.


Plan


Plan ahead to avoid rushing and delegate tasks to others when possible.


Do activities with a companion, and select activities that match your energy level.


Stay organized and reduce clutter in your home/office to maximize efficient energy use and easy access to commonly used furniture, items and supplies.


Pace


Balance periods of work with rest; take frequent breaks.


Perform more energy draining tasks at the time of day you have the most energy; alternate physically demanding tasks with less demanding tasks.


Analyze your activity so you know when a good stopping point may be.


Prioritize


Schedule activities on a daily/weekly basis.


Break down your activities, then prioritize; set realistic goals to get everything done.


Make exercises a priority to maintain healthy joints, and use low impact versus high impact exercises.


• Walking


• Water aerobics/swimming


• Yoga/pilates


• Weight training/cardio machines


• Low impact aerobics


• Cycling


• Golf


• Tai Chi


Posture


Drag or slide objects rather than lifting; if you do need to lift an object, use your legs rather than your back—Don’t hold your breath.


Carry items close to the body, keeping your back straight.


Adjust work heights to reduce strain on joints.


Place/Store heavy items at chest- and waist-level to avoid lifting overhead.


When using hands or kneeling, alternate hand/knee every 10 minutes.


Limit activities that keep your muscles in a prolonged position and not moving.


Rotate your entire body to turn; do not twist your back and limit bending and reaching activities.



Call your local NovaCare Rehabilitation center today or visit novacare.com to learn more about energy conservation. You can contact Samantha Hvasta, DPT, manager at NovaCare Rehabilitation located at the Blueberry Crossing Plaza at (609) 561-5308 or visit novacare.com.