Year End Yard Maintenance: Don’t Let It Get You Downby Emily Helton | 1 Comment
The air is getting colder, the holidays are approaching, and the leaves (or snowflakes) are falling! In the days and weeks leading up to the holiday season, most people inevitably find themselves outside in their yards either raking or shoveling snow. Raking or shoveling can be the most strenuous of household tasks and you should take proper precautions in order to avoid back strains and other injuries.
We’re addressing these two different types of activities in a two part blog. First, we’ll address raking piles and piles of leaves.
Clearing your yard of leaves is a whole body workout that places stress on muscles and joints. Here are a few tips to help minimize injury due to this type of activity:
- Warm up: Before you begin, take a short walk around your yard to warm your muscles up.
- Use the proper equipment: Wear gloves to avoid blisters on your hands. Make sure to wear the proper footwear. You want to ensure that you protect your feet and ankles while walking on uneven ground.
- Use proper body mechanics: Try to remain in an upright position and bend through your hips and knees, not your back. To avoid repetitive twisting, pull the rake directly towards your body. If you must bend down to pick the leaves up to bag them, make sure to bend at your knees, not through your spine.
- Change hand positions: You can alternate hand positions and what side of your body you are holding the rake to ensure you are using your muscles evenly and not overworking one side.
- Take frequent breaks and drink plenty of water: If you have a very large yard, don’t feel that you have to accomplish raking it all in one day. Raking is an aerobic activity so make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids so you don’t get dehydrated.
- Cool down. Doing some simple stretches after raking will help your muscles to cool down and decrease soreness afterwards.
As with any new activity, you may feel muscle soreness in the following days. Light stretching for the arms, back, and legs as well as ice or heat on the sore muscles will help alleviate any soreness. If after a few days, you are still not back to normal, make sure to schedule an appointment for an injury screen with one of our therapists at a location near you.
Athletico’s Spine Specialists are in your neighborhood. Call us anytime your aches and pains get you down.