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home / at home / ergonomics / story
Ergonomics

Fall Is Here; Tread Carefully!

Now that the leaves are piling up in the yard, there are two options you may choose to exercise regarding just what to do about them — ignore them (they're a nice decoration) or get rid of them! Ah, yes, autumn is here and with it comes more yard work. But you should be aware that the twisting, turning, bending and reaching associated with doing yard work could cause needless injury if your body is not prepared.

The American Chiropractic Association offers the following tips to avoid the preventable injuries yard work could cause.

  • Do stretching exercises, without bouncing, for 10 to 15 minutes spread out during the course of your work, including knee-to-chest pulls, trunk rotations and side bends with hands about your head and fingers locked. Take a short walk to stimulate circulation. Repeat the exercises when finished with the yard work.

  • Stand as straight as possible and keep your head up while raking or mowing.

  • When it's still warm outside, avoid the heat. Do chores before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m.

  • Use a "scissors" stance when raking — right foot forward and left foot back for a few minutes, then reverse.

  • Bend at the knees, not the waist, when picking up piles of leaves or other yard debris, and make the piles small to decrease the possibility of back strain.

  • When mowing, use your entire bodyweight to push the mower, rather than just your upper body.

  • If your mower has a pull cord, bend at the knees and pull in one smooth motion.

  • Drink lots of water and wear a hat, shoes, protective glasses and, if necessary, wear gloves to avoid blisters. If you are using loud equipment, wear hearing protection, and if you suffer from allergies wear a mask. Try ergonomic tools — they're engineered to protect you when used correctly.

  • If your back feels sore or stiff, use ice to soothe the discomfort.

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