To many people, the changing of the leaves and the cooling of the air makes the fall a very special time of year. Unfortunately, in addition to the picturesque scenery and cozy weather, fall also means there are chores to be done in order to prepare for the winter. While it’s important to ensure that the chores get done, it’s even more important that they get done safely. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- DRESS PROPERLY: You might not think about how you’re going to dress before you head outside to rake leaves or clean up the yard, but it’s certainly something that you should keep in mind. When doing chores outside, you’ll want to wear lightweight clothes that provide warmth without weighing you down or hindering your movements. You may want to wear layers so that you can add or remove articles of clothing as needed depending on the weather. It’s also important to wear comfortable and supportive shoes that are skid and slip resistant in order to prevent falls. You may also want to wear gloves to protect your hands from injury.
- START WITH A WARM UP: Stretch and warm up your muscles for about ten minutes before you start. This may not seem necessary, but it can help prevent injury. Take a walk to warm up and do some light stretches as well as side bends and knee bends. It’s important to stretch your back, neck, shoulders, hamstrings, quadriceps and calves lightly as these larger muscles will likely be used in most physical activities.
- USE PROPER POSTURE WHEN RAKING: When raking leaves, use a rake that is comfortable for your height and strength. Try out a few different rakes in the store and pick the one that feels the most comfortable to you. As for your posture, keep your legs shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Avoid reaching too far and potentially over extending your muscles. Bend at the knees and not the waist when picking up tools or leaves. Avoid twisting your body when you rake or toss leaves. Instead, step to the side and move your whole body, not just your upper body.
- PRACTICE LADDER SAFETY: When cleaning gutters and downspouts, it’s important that you practice ladder safety. Always let someone know that you will be using the ladder and, whenever possible, have someone watch you and hold the ladder as needed. Use a strong, sturdy ladder and examine it before you start in order to make sure that there aren’t any dents, loose parts or other damage. Don’t use a damaged ladder. Be careful when carrying the ladder. A heavy ladder can cause injury while you’re lifting and carrying it, so use caution.
- TAKE BREAKS: It’s important that you know when to take breaks. Taking breaks every 10 to 15 minutes actually helps the job get done faster, since you’ll be more effective with your work. Plus, it reduces the chances of fatigue and injury. You’ll also want to make sure that you drink water regularly, as physical activity can lead to dehydration. If, at any point, you feel weak, dizzy, confused or unwell, stop immediately, sit down and drink water. If this does not help your condition, you should call for medical assistance right away.
If you’ve experienced a recent sprain, strain or other injury as a result of tacking those dreaded fall chores, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. Remember, at Physiomed…Healthier Starts Here.