by Dr. Jennifer Fergusson, BASc, DC, Chiropractor, Hands on Healing, Almonte

Yard work is no small feat. Raking and mowing, lifting and turning soil, planting and hoeing can be back breaking work…literally.

Here are some tips to help keep you injury free this spring!

  • It’s been a long winter so take it easy when starting your yard work. The body needs time to adapt to the twisting, turning, pulling and pushing movements required.
  • Warm up 5-10 minutes before you start. A brisk walk around the block and some gentle stretches before you begin will increase blood circulation and prepare muscles for the task ahead.
  • Make sure you have the right tool for the job.  The wrong tool can lead to awkward movements and can compromise joints and muscles in your back.  Make sure the tool is the right size and weight for you and use ergonomically designed tools when possible.
  • Take plenty of breaks and alternate between light and heavy jobs. These mini-breaks will help the body avoid over load and repetitive strain injuries. Take a break and stretch every 15 minutes.
  • Make sure to ask for help when lifting heavy loads and learn to lift properly. Safe lifting involves bending at the hips, not the back, and maintaining a neutral spine. Always keep heavy objects close to your body when lifting.
  • Kneel down, to weed gardens, don’t bend over. Bending for extended periods of time fatigues your back muscles and leaves your spine vulnerable to injury.
  • Re-Hydrate! This is no joke. We don’t realize how much water we are loosing during activity. Even on cool, cloudy days make sure you are getting 6-8 glasses minimum.
  • Dress for the weather. Protect yourself from the sun and bugs and wear proper footwear for the job.

With these tips in mind, your gardens will be blooming in no time and you will be enjoying the scenery pain-free!