The cooler temperatures and falling leaves provide ample opportunity – and demands – for outdoor chores, encouraging the perfect backdrop for connecting with the outdoors and working in some serious physical activity. The key to being productive – and enjoying it in the process – is safety. When engaging in raking, planting, painting, pruning, and other outdoor chores, follow these tips to help ensure success (and avoid a painful next few days):
Choose the right materials
If you are using a rake or shovel, choose a sturdy version rather than a cheap, plastic option. If your handles aren’t padded, make sure to use gloves to avoid blisters. Consider using a stool to support your back while gardening. Using a ladder? Use common sense too. If it’s old, rusty or uneven, make other provisions and definitely use a spotter.
Be kind to your body
You know the do’s and don’ts. DO bend at the knees. DO maintain good posture and protect your spine. Don’t remain in one position for too long. Don’t lift and twist. If something feels wrong or painful, stop immediately. Warm up your body before you begin. And take frequent breaks.
Dress for success
Typically in the fall this includes a lot of layering so that you are covered for brisk morning activity and as the sun warms you throughout the early afternoon. And, particularly if you are fair skinned, don’t forget the sunscreen. It may seem unnecessary this time of year but burning is still possible. Also consider eye wear. You never know when a heap of mulch you are shoveling or those tree limbs you are trimming might fly into your eyes. Ouch!
And don’t forget to include the kiddos or other friends in your plans. Kids will learn to appreciate working in the outdoors and friends can provide some useful perspective and a helping hand!