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November 2023

Tips to Avoid Fall Yard Cleanup Injuries

By Newsletter

Avoid Injuries During Fall Yard Cleanup

Every year, we see an influx of patients who have injured themselves while completing their annual fall yard cleanup. Pruning trees, cleaning gutters, raking leaves, and general bending and lifting can create a perfect environment for back injuries, strains, sprains, or falls. The general use of leaf blowers, rakes, ladders, and carrying heavy bags requires a thoughtful plan to prevent injuries, and you know, as Chiropractors, we like to focus on prevention!

So, we’ve created a short list can help you make preventative choices. However, we encourage you to see schedule an appointment with us before you begin any heavy end-of-season yard work to develop a plan best suited to you.

  1. Stretch. Remaining limber is always your first line of defense. Stretch your shoulders, back, wrists, and neck for a few minutes. These areas are the most susceptible to yard work-related injuries. 
  2. Hydrate. As the weather becomes cooler or cooler compared to a scorching summer, you may not feel the same need to stay hydrated. Hydrating will prevent dizziness and help your joints and muscles remain malleable while working.
  3. Dress for the occasion. Fall weather is unpredictable, so check the weather report before planning your tasks. Wear comfortable clothing that you won’t overheat in. Light layers work best, and ensuring long sleeves and pants will help protect you from bugs. Closed-toed shoes are a must (for obvious reasons) and work/garden gloves to protect your hands. 
  4. Do you have protective gear? Sunscreen is item number one on this list; too many people lose sight of UV rays as the weather changes. Glasses or goggles, depending on what tasks you are taking care of, along with back, knee, or wrist braces, are helpful. And don’t forget the earplugs if you are using blowers or chainsaws. 
  5. Ergonomics and posture. Good posture often begins in the store when you are purchasing your equipment. Choose rakes, shovels, blowers, etc., that are comfortable for you. Be mindful of your posture, and avoid hunching over or lifting by bending your waist. Always lift at the knees, using the strongest parts of your legs to lift items. Ensure you are using both sides of your body equally if you can; this can help prevent extra soreness or overworking muscles on one side.
  6. Be careful when using a ladder. If using a ladder to remove leaves and debris from your gutters, make sure it’s sturdy with no loose screws or hinges. Be sure to place it on a firm, level surface, and it’s full double. Check it is fully open and locked. Wear shoes with nonslip soles when climbing, and ask someone to hold the ladder in place if you can. Always face toward the ladder when climbing and descending, and never sit or stand above the level indicated by the manufacturer.

When You’re Finished

Call an appointment for a Chiropractic adjustment when your yardwork is complete. Year-round maintenance doesn’t just apply to your yard; it also applies to your body!

Injury Prevention Starts With Maintaining Mobility

The chillier weather is upon us, which means many folks will either be switching up their activities to accommodate ice and snow or remaining indoors and possibly becoming increasingly more sedentary as winter emerges. However, if you aren’t attempting to keep moving, you could risk your long-term overall health. Suppose you are switching up your activities to accommodate the ice and snow. In that case, injuries can be imminent if you aren’t prepared.

We do not suggest you begin training to run marathons (unless this is what you desire). Still, to remain healthy, we must monitor what we put into our bodies and how we stay as physically fit as possible.

Stretching Is A Must

Even if you are in a position to move around for some of the day, your body requires stretching. Long periods of sitting or standing will affect our circulation; this can cause a deterioration of muscle mass, ultimately affecting systems of your body.

Occasionally we suggest yoga, but we’d error on the side of caution when choosing an online class that is appropriate for you. Without instructors who can watch your form and make suggestions to eliminate the possibility of injury, this is one we wouldn’t necessarily recommend for those with compromised mobility. However, if you don’t fall into this category, starting with an online or in-person beginner program can be a great start to something you may love. 

If yoga has yet to be on your list of things to try, continuing with light stretches throughout the day is highly recommended. Remember that your form is equally as crucial as the stretch itself, so take your time and make sure you are breathing through it and that it feels right. Stretches should feel like more of a relief than painful. Stretching too much can cause very sore muscles and may cause you to want to give up.

Online Workouts

If being online has become your go-to, there is a workout for every body type, goal, and injury. The past bunch of years have normalized online workouts and access to personal trainers. You can now workout with your favorite celebrity, neighbor, friends, and even a personal trainer.

Home Gym Or No Home Gym

Whether you do or you don’t. This should not be a barrier to an exercise program. Using household items as substitutes is a perfect alternative to traditional hand weights.

What are good alternatives?

  • Large bottles of liquid detergent are great because they have handles, and you could easily use two at a time, provided they have the same amount of liquid in them. 
  • A bag of potatoes is a standard 10 lbs. This is easy to assess, and the bags are easily manipulated, so there is less likelihood of dropping them and causing injury.
  • A backpack with cans inside is an excellent use of weight when doing squats or lunges, and the weight will remain evenly distributed. 
  • Cans of paint are great for bicep curls.

In addition, recommend an inexpensive set of good-quality loop resistance bands. They often come with an insert with exercises that can be done while watching your form, typically used to prevent injuries.

There are several great videos on YouTube that will show you how to use them efficiently. The great thing about these bands is that you can work almost every muscle safely and effectively.

Get Out There

If you have begun to slow down, return to the gym or your local pool to resume or begin an exercise routine.

Ultimately, there is little reason to remain sedentary. As always, beginning something new can be intimidating or challenging for some, but if you combine it with the ability to start in the privacy of your own home, it can be appealing. Home gyms are a great alternative to attending busy local public gyms.

Whether it’s the occasional stretch, a daily walk, or continuing to work out with your gym community – anything is an excellent alternative to sitting and wishing you were more active. 

When you feel better physically, you will always feel better mentally. So keep it moving!

Contact us to ensure you are maintaining optimal health with proper form, adjustments, and overseeing your general physical health.