Autumn Yard Work - Limiting the Person Instead of the Injury Again?
A Medline article on autumn yard and housework gives a list from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, which they say will reduce injuries. Their list includes doing less, lifting lighter loads, not lifting overhead, or using turning action to the side.
The Orthopaedic Surgeons' list is another case of limiting the patient to limit the pain.
It is unfortunate to instruct patients to do less physical activity. It is no mystery that restricting activity reduces strength, flexibility, and balance. When patients become tight and weak, they are next sent to physical therapy to lift weights and stretch. Instead, go outside. Get free exercise, get stronger, increase balance, have some fun instead of being held back.
It is not a mystery that if you spend an afternoon bent wrong over a rake, lifting wrong, and hunching your shoulders, you will be achy. Have fun doing yard work in the fresh air in healthy, commonsense ways:
- Carry Heavy Leaf Bags - check if you lean backward to hold and carry loads. Instead of leaning, which pinches the lower spine, stand upright, use neutral spine - Prevent Back Surgery
- Lift and Bend. One of the American Academy list recommendations is to bend right to pick up piles of leaves. This is good. Strengthen your legs and balance, and get whole body movement without back pain.
- Lunge with one foot in front of the other - Strengthen and Retrain Function With The Lunge and Leg Exercise That Helps Your Back - Why The Lunge?
- Half-squat (crouch) with feet side by side - Free Exercise and Free Back and Knee Pain Prevention - Healthy Bending
- You Don't Need Expensive Ergonomic Rakes And Tools Or Fancy Padding. The majority of the world does far heavier work with far less. Bend right (links above) instead of bending over. To prevent hand irritation and blisters, don't clench your grip and be willing to toughen your hands and skin. Being too delicate means fragile skin. The soil has many substances beneficial to health and disease reduction, some documented to reduce depression. Post on this to come. Don't be too afraid to get dirty.
- Lift And Throw Loads Overhead. See if you lean backward or jut your neck and chin forward. With healthier positioning you can work up to lifting and throwing more. With poor positioning, injury potential is high, even with light loads.
- For shoulder, upper back, and neck click Overhead Lifting, Reaching, and Throwing - More Part I, Overhead Lifting, Reaching, and Throwing Part I - Shoulder and Rotator Cuff Injury, and Safer Overhead Military Press.
- For lower back, click Overlooked Ab Muscles in Overhead Lifts
- Are You Holding Your Breath And Straining? - Do Breathing Exercises Work?
- Improve Balance - Better Balance by Christmas and Balance While Bending - Ancient Shoe Exercise for Hip Stretch and Balance
- Keep Activities You Love - Exercise and Aging - Don't Limit the Patient to Limit the Pain and Why So Many Aerobics Injuries?
- Success Story Of Increasing Ability To Do More From Reader Ivy - Farm Work, Lifestyle Exercise, and Preventing Overuse Pain
Doing less is a flawed approach to preventing injury in the short term, and over the long run, will undermine your health and abilities. Use your brain for healthy, fun ways to keep doing more of your favorite activities.
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