Safety Tips to Help Avoid Injury doing Yard Work

It’s the time of year where we all love to be outside and of course yard work comes with it. We have compiled some ways to help you get through the hard yard work in the spring, maintenance in the summer months, and cleaning up in the fall without injury.

First, make sure you warm up. We know it may sound silly, however you are more prone to injury if your muscles are “cold” and not ready for activity. Warming up could be just taking a nice 5-10 minute walk around the neighborhood. After you are done walking, make sure to do some stretches: Stretch your hamstrings, quads, and calves to help you get more limber. These stretches below are the perfect ones!

Second, make sure to change positions often. If you have a lot of raking and weed pulling to do, then make sure you alternate them to give your body a rest from repetitive work. Switching activities can help to avoid any overuse injuries including tendinitis and bursitis, so be sure to give your body a break every 15 minutes by alternating your work.

Third, when doing ANY lifting, be sure to lift with your legs and NOT bend at the waist using your back. We highlight ANY as back injuries are often caused from even the lightest of lifting such as bending over just to pick up a stick causing people to “throw out their back”. To help avoid this, we suggest always bending the knees and lifting with the legs. Below depicts a great picture of how lifting should be done!

Fourth, when using equipment, such as a chainsaw or lawn mower, make sure it is sharpened, there are no leaks, and it works properly. When equipment does not work correctly, it causes you to exert more energy and effort in operating the equipment, which in turn can cause injury. In addition, when going to use the equipment, make sure your path is clear and it is clear around the area you are working on. You do not want to have to squeeze by chairs or step over debris on the ground with a heavy piece of equipment. This may cause you to lose balance and result in injury.

Lastly, use common sense when working outdoors! Common things you should think of and abide by are:
• Wear gloves and long sleeves to protect yourself from chemicals you may be spreading or to prevent any irritation and blisters from use of the equipment.
• Use knee pads when you are going to be gardening to prevent bursitis or tendinitis of the knees
• Wear sunscreen to protect yourself from the hot sun
• Wear goggles or head phones when weed-whipping or using loud equipment
• Stay hydrated! Drink a lot of water and make sure to take breaks to eat
• Do not climb or stand on an unsteady ladder or equipment
• Do not work on wet or slippery surfaces

When you have completed your yard work for the day, make sure you do some of the quick stretches above again as a nice cool down. If any body part is aching you, ice and rest to help relieve some soreness.
Yard work can be very taxing on anyone’s body so be sure to follow the tips above to avoid serious injury!

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