Summer is ending and Fall is on the way! Soon many of us will be taking on the tasks of winterizing gardens and raking up leaves. Yardwork can be strenuous, and if your body is not prepared for the physical activity you have an increased chance of injury. Reduce your risk with these tips:
- Warm up! Just like in sports, you don’t want to begin without stretching. Do gentle stretches for your calves, hamstrings, trunk, and shoulders, holding each stretch for about 30 seconds and performing 2-3 times on each side, to get yourself ready.
- When mowing or raking, keep your head up and your back straight to maintain good posture. If you are looking down at the ground, you are automatically starting to bring your spine into a flexed posture, putting additional strain on your muscles and on the intervertebral discs.
- Stagger your feet when raking – put one foot forward and the other back, then reverse after a few minutes. This will allow you to shift your weight from one leg to the other instead of straining your back.
- Lift with your legs! Bend your knees, hinge at your hips, and keep objects close to your body to prevent strain on your back. Use a partner to help heavy objects when available.
- Use your body weight to push items like lawn mowers and wheel bowers, not just your arms and back.