It’s that time of the year again; the snow has melted and our yards are in need of some TLC. Alyssa Stuart, PT, DPT of MVPT Manchester has put together some “How To Tips” for your yard clean up that keep the focus on body mechanics to keep you safe.
When weeding and preparing your raised beds, avoid bending forward with your back and reaching too far away. If you are able, work in a half kneel position and use tools close to you to avoid stress on your low back, shoulders and neck. You can also try a cushion or gardening bench for extra support and comfort.
If using a wheelbarrow, lift the handles by bending your knees and elbows and engaging your core. Relax your shoulders so they are not raised. Raising your shoulders and bending forward to lift the handles can be more work for our bodies and lead to muscle strain.
If stacking wood, stagger your stance and have a wide base of support for your feet when lifting. Try to avoid extending your back; instead, engage your core and carry smaller loads to prevent injury due to repetitive lifting and carrying with improper mechanics.
When raking, avoid reaching and bending too far forward. Try to stay close to the area you are raking and take smaller strokes. Avoid twisting and frequently switch sides of your body that you are raking from to protect your back and shoulders.
With raking comes more squatting and lifting! When picking up leaves or garden debris from the ground, you should alos use proper mechanics. Make sure to spread your feet about hip-width apart, bend your knees and engage your abdominal muscles. This will save your back much strain and pain from bending forward over and over again. If you are picking up something from the ground, be sure to hold it close to your body as well.
Additional Tips & Tricks:
- Perform a few warm up streches before gardening to increase blood flow.
- Stay hydrated! Taking intermittent water breaks is important for your muscles!
- Change your position frequently. Sometimes rotating through yard activities can help prevent overuse injuries and reduce stiffness.
- Work smart! Use your wheelbarrow to carry heavier items you are moving to or from your garden.
- Stretch after you garden. This can help reduce any stiffness or pain you may feel later in that day or even the next day.
Have fun, be safe, and Happy Gardening!!
Alyssa Stuart, PT, DPT
Alyssa is a member of MVPT Manchester. She joined our team in 2019 and has quickly developed a strong following of loyal clients. Alyssa’s clinical interests include orthopedic conditions, pre & post surgical care, has advanced training in manual techniques and kinesiotaping, and is certified in the Graston Technique.
We look forward to Alyssa’s “after” pictures of all her gardening work once her raised bed garden has grown in.
To schedule an appointment with Alyssa, please call our Mancester office at 603-625-1964 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.