It is that time of year again! Time start getting the yard cleaned up before the winter. From picking up the fallen leaves, branches from windstorms, or digging up shrubs, it is important that no matter what your yard needs, that you protect yourself from injury.
When the time comes to rake those leaves be sure to do a light warm-up. Raking leaves can be a moderate to strenuous task so doing a light warm-up is essential.
The warm-up can include
- · shoulder circles
- · squats
- · knee curls
- · and trunk extensions
The purpose is to warm up the muscles and loosen the joints.
Keeping your spine straight and using your legs to shift your body when raking leaves will protect you from an injury to your lower back. Take rest breaks every 15-20 minutes or less to limit strain to the tendons in your shoulder, forearm, and wrist. Try to keep your shoulders pinched back when raking to reduce shoulder pain.
If bagging the leaves:
Be sure to bend at your knees to squat and pick them up or lay the bag side-ways to rake or sweep into the bag.
If putting leaves on a tarp a dragging them to the street for pick-up:
Limit the weight of the tarp to what you can handle without straining. Putting the leaves in smaller piles will keep the load light enough for you to handle on your own. If the leaves are wet and heavy, ask for help or let them stay on the cart to dry out.
Regardless of the way you like to clean-up your yard, protect your spine and joints from excessive strain. Keep the back straight, especially if lifting any objects. When squatting, maintain knees in-line with your toes to reduce knee strain. When pulling, keep your shoulder blades pinched back to limit strain to the rotator.
If you have any questions regarding safe ways to performing yard work, please call one of our offices to set up a free consult with a physical therapist so that we can review proper body mechanics for you to avoid injury.