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The Mechanics of Yard Work

Don't let Spring yard work become a pain in your back! Physician Assistant Rebecca Pelkola shares some tips for keeping your back safe while cleaning up your yard this Spring:

1. Get Stronger. Now is the time to work on core strengthening exercise program to get those back, abdominal and leg muscles into shape and help prepare yourself for the physical work ahead.

There is a wealth of information online, search core strengthening exercises, which focus on moves like planks, bridges and more.

2. Work Smarter, Not Harder. Using proper body mechanics will aide in protecting your back.

  • Make sure to bend your knees if bending from the waist or if your lifting something moderately heavy.
  • Pull in your stomach muscles while carrying, lifting or changing positions.
  • Lift with your legs: squat or kneel down to pick up objects.
  • Consider using aides such as wagons for moving yard waste bags, pots, soil and tools or use garden stools to work closer to the earth.
  • While raking, stand with feet shoulder length apart, engage your stomach muscles, face your cleanup pile and use small raking movements.

3. Prevent falls

  • Make sure ladder is on flat surface.
  • Place ladder directly below area you need to reach. Avoid twisting.
  • If you have balance issues, stay off the ladder and ask someone for help.