How to prepare for fall yard work with back pain

Life Style-women-play with child and dog_IS-000013479941The fall of autumn leaves paints a beautiful scene – and the potential of stressful yard work for homeowners. With a few weeks left to enjoy this colorful season before getting down to work, here are suggestions on how to prepare for yard work and minimize your risk of back pain.

Have a plan. Approaching yard work without a clear plan can be overwhelming and result in projects left uncompleted. Prioritize three primary items to work on, and think through what you will need to complete those tasks.

Be realistic about scheduling. Avoid planning to do everything in one afternoon; this can overly stress your back and lead to you nursing some inflamed muscles. By knowing what you want to accomplish, you can have a realistic plan and check things off over the course of a few weeks.

Prep your tools. Nothing is worse than raking when the handle keeps falling off or edging your bushes with worn out shears. Take a trip through your garage a few weeks before hitting the yard. Make a note of the items that need replacing and those that need some TLC. Using worn out and ineffective tools can lead to working longer than you need to — bad news when you want to avoid back pain.

Check your footwear. Think protection and support. The wrong shoes can lead to you misaligning your spine from lack of cushioning or taking a misstep and injuring an ankle or joints. Doctors especially warn against wearing flip-flops or sandals when doing yard work. Footwear that exposes all or part of your feet greatly increases your risk of injury.

Strengthen and stretch. Most of us experience muscle soreness and stiffness in the days following heavy yard work. For this reason, work on strengthening your core and back muscles in the weeks leading up to your time outside. Take five minutes to stretch every morning and evening. These small changes can give you a leg up on avoiding that uncomfortable pain.

Preparing for your fall yard work is the first step in preventing back pain during the autumn months. Being prepared allows you to effectively schedule your time. This will enable you to take it slow to reduce the risk of injury during yard work. Don’t forget to take the changing weather into consideration during your preparation!

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