The Fitness Fixer
The Fitness Fixer

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

  • 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.

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.

"You're never too old to become younger"
-Mae West


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About the Author


Dr. Bookspan is an award-winning scientist whose goal is to make exercise easier and healthier.