No matter what time of year, it is always important to practice safety. Here in New England, Summer has officially ended and Fall is here. The air is getting cooler, the days are getting shorter, and the leaves are beginning to fall from the trees. While the tree leaves are beautiful to look at, they can certainly be a pain in the neck (or should I say, back,) to clean up. The following safety tips will help to keep you healthy during your yard clean up this Fall.
Stay Safe This Fall: Leaf Raking Safety Tips
Clothing Safety: Dress Appropriately
Safety begins before you even leave your house. Prevention of back pain and shoulder injuries begins with dressing appropriately. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes with good arch support. Additionally, try to look for shoes that have a “no-slip” sole on the bottom. When the leaves are wet, they become slippery. These no-slip soles will help to keep you stable while raking. It is also important to keep your skin safe. Wear long sleeves and pants to prevent ticks and other bugs from attaching to bare skin. It is also important to wear gloves when handling the leaves. The gloves will help prevent the hands from getting injured by sharp twigs and branches that may be in the leaf piles. Gloves will also help prevent blisters from forming while using a rake.
Form Safety: Maintain the Proper Stance
After hours of raking, you may begin to feel yourself starting to slouch. While a more relaxed position may feel good in the moment, your body is going to regret it later. Be sure to stand tall, and distribute your weight evenly on your feet. Switch off between your dominant hand and your non-dominant hand to ensure that you are not overworking one side of your body. When lifting heavy bags of leaves, be sure to always lift with your knees while keeping your back straight. This will prevent you from suffering from a back injury while doing yard work.
Body Safety: Know Your Limits
While you may want to try and finish the entire yard in one day, it is best to break up leaf raking over a few days. For example, start on a Saturday, and then finish on a Sunday. When you try to do too much all at once, your body begins to suffer. Your posture will start to slouch, and you may even cause your muscles to strain. When you feel yourself getting tired, take a break. Be sure to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. When you feel that you cannot do any more, stop for the day and come back to it later. There is no sense in giving yourself a long-term injury for a short-term project.
Cleaning up leaves may seem like a long and difficult task. Many people even try avoid cleaning their yards because so much work is involved. However, with these simple tips, you will be able to clean your yard up safely in no time at all.
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