How to Avoid a Yard Work Injury
Safe Yard Work
Yard work is a great way to get outside, get fresh air, and get some great exercise. Spring is a great time to gather leaves that have collected through the winter in the corners of your mulch beds, give the lawn a good dethatching with a rake, spread new mulch, and get those first few mows in.
But with the joy (for some of us) of yard work comes a risk for injury. You’ll want to work smart in order to ensure that your hard work isn’t leading to you being out for the rest of the season.
Here are some tips for performing yard work safely.
Tip 1: Dressing Appropriately
One of the most common causes of strain can be from trying not to get dirty; bending and crouching as to save your clothing and shoes from getting too mucky. Wear clothing that you plan on getting dirty and wear footwear such as boots that you can hose off after your work. Also consider using knee pads or something you can kneel on while you are weeding. Dressing appropriately will stop that subconscious notion that bars you from using the proper posture and balance during your activities.
Tip 2: Raking
It may seem unnatural at first, but switching which hand you rake with can help spread out the work load on your muscles. If you are right-handed and switch to your left for sporadic intervals this will save those right side muscles and put some of the work load on the left side.
Tip 3: Weeding
As stated earlier, weeding with knee pads on can make a difference in the comfort of the task. It is also important to position oneself right near the area where you are weeding. Don’t position yourself in one place and then reach as far as you can from side to side. Perform the work in front of you and then reposition.
Tip 4: Mowing
When using a push mower, make sure that the grass is dry as to ensure that you don’t slip while mowing. This will also stop the clippings from clogging in the mower and will ensure a cleaner cut and the long term health of the lawn.
Position the handles of the mower so that you can push the mower with your elbows are making a 90 degree angle at the arms. This will decrease the strength needed to push the mower.
When using a push mower on a hill, place your hands at the center of the handles. This helps control the mower better to allow a straighter line while not causing your muscles to work unevenly to control where the mower is going.
Know Your Limits
Treat yard work like any other form of exercise. Know your limits! Take small breaks and know when to call it a day. Many times the activity you are performing is not something you will do very often (such as raking), you may only rake a few days a year and it may cause stiffness for the next couple of days. You can avoid this by spacing out the intervals of this task while switching back and forth to another job that needs to be done around the yard. You also need to know when to call it a day and tackle the rest tomorrow.