yard work imageMaintaining a yard and landscaping could be a full time job. Unfortunately, most of us also have many other demands on our time and must fit the yard work into weekends and evenings, trying to get as much done in as little time as possible. This weekend yardwork warrior method can set you up for injury, though. Even if you have more time and patience to work on your yard, it’s important to take time to troubleshoot all chores to avoid potential injury. Here we’ll detail some common outdoor tasks, as well as methods to modify them to reduce your chances of injury.
1. Updating your bark-Fresh bark is a beautiful addition to any yard, but if it’s packaged in bags you need to safely get them to their destination. Don’t try to load 100 bags into your car like a super hero, have the lovely crew at Home Depot or Lowe’s, etc. help you load them. And once you’re home, use the wheelbarrow to minimize the amount of time you have to carry those large bags. Don’t cut the bag open until it’s at its destination, then cut open one end and squat, grab the unopened end and stand so gravity helps you spread that beautiful ground cover!
2. Mowing the lawn- If you have a mower that has an adjustable handle bar find a setting close to waist height. Most of the work should be coming from your legs, walking forward and back to move the mower versus moving the arms to push forward and back. If you have a riding mower, enjoy that ride with some good posture and an ice cold beverage!
3. Trimming the bushes or trees-The best way to reduce the amount of work for these tasks is making sure your tools have a sharp blade. It’s very frustrating to wedge your clippers halfway through a branch you have essentially sawed because of the dull blades, only to realize that they need to be sharpened and you should have used a lopper anyway (the author has no personal experience with this, of course).
4. Hoeing those weeds- This is a task that can be really demanding on your low back. To optimize your mechanics here, keep the hoe low to the ground and only worry about attacking the roots of the plant. Keep the hoe close to your body as well, and move your body as close to the weeds you’re trying to reach as possible. Increased forward reaching with the arms will increase stress and strain to your lumbar spine.
Hopefully this list is a starting point for you to maximize your gardening efforts with minimal soreness. As with anything, if it hurts, stop and assess what you’re doing then readjust and start again. Pain is not going to help that landscaping project go faster! Edge wishes you a happy, injury-free summer.