This time of year, we start to spend a lot of time spring cleaning, especially in the yard!
Whether it be raking leaves, mowing the lawn, or planting flowers, here are some key tips to keep in mind with your body to prevent injury with your annual clean-up.
One of the most common injuries that can result from spring gardening is knee injury. Help save your knees by wearing knee pads or using a mat when you’re in your garden.
Though knee injury may be the most common injury in the spring, improper body mechanics can cause a variety of different injuries.
Here are some tips on how you can avoid injury during yard clean-up:
- 1. Remember to lift with your knees. Instead of bending over to lift objects (do you have heavy flower pots?) off the ground, use your knees instead of your back so you don’t put any extra strain on your back. Make sure you are also squared up to the object you’re lifting so you don’t have to twist to lift. Use a wheelbarrow if you need to as well for heavier objects that you can’t hold closely to your body!
- 2. Think about your posture. Keeping your back straight will help to prevent any aches and pains the next day. Think about keeping your shoulders back and neck straight whenever possible instead of hunching over.
- 3. Use a ladder for overhead activities. If you find yourself reaching overhead often, see if you can bring the activity to you by using a ladder so you can reach in front of you instead.
- 4. Dig without twisting. Along the same lines of lifting, try not to twist your back when throwing dirt or raking leaves into a pile. This can put unnecessary strain on your back and put you at risk for injury. Instead, shuffle your feet to turn your body as a whole toward your pile when performing these tasks.
- 5. Change your position. Don’t sit in the same spot for a long period of time. If you’re weeding in the garden, take a break to walk around the yard every once in a while. If you’re raking, be sure you’re not raking on the same side constantly so you can even out the stresses on your body.
- 6. Stay hydrated. Though you may not think about being dehydrated as injury to the body, this can have a huge impact on how your body feels after being in the yard. Make sure you are drinking water while you’re working so you don’t get dehydrated and your body can recover more easily.
You may still feel some soreness after working in the yard, but be sure to ice if you need to. Sometimes our backs, knees, or shoulders get sore after a winter of sitting in the house, so don’t be afraid to get the frozen peas out!
If you find yourself with unrelenting pain after working in the yard, click here to sign up for a FREE consultation with our physical therapist to find a solution!