Spring is here and with it comes potential for injury. It is important to be prepared and safe when working in the yard. Here are a few tips to keep you healthy and fit all season long.
Make sure you're limber before tackling the yard.This will help combat soreness and prevent muscle strains. Some great stretches include trunk rotations for stretching the back, bringing your knee up to your chest to stretch your lower back and legs, and reaching above your head with hands locked to stretch arms and shoulders.
Use Proper Body Mechanics
Be aware of body position when raking, bending or picking up debris in the yard. Always bend from the knees and keep your back straight. Consider using a cart or wheelbarrow to move items from one place in the yard to another. When raking, place one foot in front of the other and then switch after 10 minutes.
Be sure to pace yourself, especially if it is hot outside. Take frequent rest breaks, drink plenty of water and wear proper clothing for sun protection and to allow for sweating. Wear waterproof sunscreen on exposed areas to avoid sunburn, and bug repellent if necessary. Do not work on strenuous tasks during the hottest part of the day. Early morning and evenings may be cooler and the best times to get your yard work done. Try to share the work with family or friends to reduce the workload.
Change positions often to avoid repetitive motions. These motions are hard on your body and can lead to injury. If you are pulling weeds, stand up after 10 minutes to stretch and change position. Rake a small part of the yard, then pick up the debris and move it out of the area. Break up sitting tasks by walking whenever possible.
Use Ergonomic Tools and Be Safe
Choose tools with larger, padded or curved handles that are less strenuous to use over long periods of time. Look for protective gloves that have a nonslip surface for grip and to help prevent blisters and add protection from sticks and thorns in debris. When using ladders, have someone spotting and go slow to make sure to touch each step as you ascend and descend. Use safety precautions when operating any machinery such as watching for electrical cords, wearing protective eye gear, and making sure you have cleared rocks or debris from areas you may be mowing.