Yard work can be a never ending task from March to October. Mowing, raking, picking weeds, planting, etc. – each of these can be a great source of exercise for some, activity for others, and getting outside can be good for all. There is a risk of personal injury with all physically intensive efforts. Here are a few things to keep in mind when doing these pesky yard chores:
1. When planting or picking weeds, wear knee pads and squat, kneel or even sit on the ground. DO NOT BEND FROM THE WAIST for prolonged periods while working as this can put increased stress on your spine.
2. When raking, again DO NOT BEND AT THE WAIST, keep your back straight and take several small steps forward and backward to gather leaves and debris. Also make sure to constantly switch from one side of the body to the other to balance joint and muscle expenditure. Try to avoid bending and twisting. Keep your body in a straight line to lower the potential for stress forces on your spine.
3. When lifting and carrying always keep your back straight, engage your core, and drive through your legs. Keep the load as close to your body as possible. And as always, do not bend and or twist when lifting as this greatly increases potential for back injury. If possible, use a wheelbarrow to transport your items (same rules apply).
4. Give yourself hydration and stretching breaks.