Fall is here and that means it's time to break out the rakes and leaf blowers for yard clean-up... which is prime time for muscle challenges.
Common tasks such as raking can cause muscle strain, back pain, repetitive strain injuries, tendonitis, and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome if not done properly.
Consider these tips when working outdoors
Warm up for at least 10 minutes before doing any heavy yard work.
Cover any exposed area of your skin with a natural sunscreen to prevent sunburn.
Use a rake that is comfortable for your height and strength.
Wear gloves or use a rake with padded handles to prevent blisters.
Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants to protect skin from scratches caused by low-hanging tree branches and other plants.
Wear shoes or boots with slip-resistant soles.
Keep a roll of trash bags close by while cleaning the yard to easily place fallen leaves and other debris into the bags so you will not trip over something that might be hidden by the leaves.
Never throw leaves over your shoulder or to the side, which puts undue stress on your back.
When picking up leaves, bend at the knees – not the waist.
Vary your movement and alternate your leg and arm position when picking up leaves.
Make sure to switch which arm is dominating to work the muscles on both sides of your body equally when raking leaves. Switch sides often to prevent overworking a certain group of muscles.
Wear safety glasses to keep your eyes protected from flying dirt and debris.
Be sure to have a family member hold the ladder in place when climbing a ladder and do not stand above the level indicated by the manufacturer.
Wear gloves and a facemask when handling chemicals such as lawn fertilizers and keep these items away from children and pets.
Wear earmuffs, a hard hat, and a steel mesh face visor when using a chainsaw.
Wear durable safety gloves to keep hands safe from the bite of insects or plant-borne disease.
If you incur a back injury, consider chiropractic as a safe, drug-free approach to healing musculoskeletal pain.
Stay safe and enjoy this wonderful time of year.