Recent Blog Articles

Staying Healthy

Boost your ability to lift and carry heavy loads

June 01, 2020

Strengthen the shoulder, arm, buttock, and leg muscles.


Grocery bags, grandkids, and gardening supplies: they're all heavy items you may need to lift and carry short distances. That may be harder in older age, with a loss of muscle mass and strength. You'll have an easier time if you maintain the muscles that help you do the job.

Your "lifting" muscles

"Lift with your legs, not with your back." That old saying is true for a reason: "The muscles in the legs and buttocks are bigger and more power­ful than the tiny back muscles," notes Clare Safran-Norton, clinical supervisor of rehabilitation services at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».


As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.