Fall Cleanup Safety Tips
As the temperature declines and the leaves change colors, it officially feels like fall! Raking and fall cleanup is a common chore for most of us.
The American Chiropractic Association cautions individuals to protect themselves from back strain, neck strain, and shoulder pain.
Here are a few tips to help you avoid back pain and potential injuries from fall cleanup:
Maintain Good Posture and Balance Your Weight. Try to stand as straight as possible and avoid twisting your body while you are raking or cleaning up fall debris. Also, balance your weight by standing in a scissor’s stance with one foot forward and one foot back for a few minutes then reverse.
Bend Properly by Bending at the Knees. You should bend at the knees not the waist. Also, you should be using your core muscles to minimize back strain. Always remember to make the piles small and only lift what you are comfortable lifting. Don’t push it!
Warm Up and Cool Down. It may be tempting to sit down and relax after the tiring fall cleanup, but before your muscles get cold make sure you stretch! Stretching before can help prevent muscle strain, while stretching afterwards can help relieve muscle tension.
Dress Appropriately. Dress so that you can stay warm, but also cool at the same time. Consider dressing in layers, so that you can always adjust as needed. Supportive shoes can also provide your feet with the necessary support and help guard against back pain.
Take Breaks and Hydrate. Even though the temperatures are cooler, remember to keep drinking water and take breaks frequently. You are working hard and muscle fatigue is common with outdoor work.
Use the Right Equipment. Make sure the equipment is right for you. Use a rake that is comfortable for your height and strength. Consider wearing gloves to protect your hands. You can also look for ergonomic tools that are designed to help protect you when used properly. Always remember to use the appropriate safety equipment – safety glasses and ear protection.
Before and/or after your fall cleanup, consider making an appointment with Dr. Nicole Knapp, D.C. Dr. Nicole might just advise you get an adjustment before you start your cleanup, so that you don't make your current misalignments even worse! Dr. Nicole is also here to help you feel better and experience less pain after your fall cleanup projects.