Spring Clean Up: Three Tips to prevent pain
As we move into the spring season there are often many odd jobs around the house and yard that require our attention. We are busy switching out shoes and wardrobes, purging unwanted toys or trinkets and getting the yard and gardens into shape for the summer. While each individual task may not seem very physically demanding, it’s important to appreciate the fact that all of these tasks add up. The accumulation of load on the tissues can lead to aches and pains that are unwelcome.
Below are our top three tips for preventing injuries or aches and pains in spring, what seems to be a very active season of refreshing and renewing our spaces.
#1 Do Each Task a Little Bit at a Time:
While each task can seem small, it’s not long before the day is done and you realize you have spent the whole day working around the house. While it is less productive, taking each task little by little may help to prevent pain. This means completing one portion of a task and then moving to another task. The second task should be in a different position than the first. This can look like weeding the garden for 30-45 minutes in a bent position and then transitioning to emptying a hallway closet or folding laundry in a standing or seated position. By varying your position and tasks throughout the day you prevent yourself from staying in one posture for too long. While no single posture is bad, the accumulated time in a single posture that you are not used to maintaining can be pain inducing.
#2 Small Forces are Better Than Large Forces:
What we are trying to say here is that moving small loads more times is better than trying to move a larger load all at once. If you are getting rid of unwanted clothing, bag it up in smaller bags rather than one large bag. If you are shovelling dirt and distributing it throughout the yard, put less dirt on the shovel vs trying to get on as much as possible. This strategy doesn’t decrease the total load, but decreases each individual load so that you can better manage. Again this is not an overall time saver but the distribution of the load over more time can help decrease the risk of injuries.
#3 Prepare Yourself For Awkward Positions:
More and more literature is coming out about how bending and lifting with your back isn’t as bad as we once thought. The issue is that we don’t train our bodies to be able to lift with a bent back and therefore when we do it in real life it can cause issues.
Enter the Jefferson Curl. This is a bent back lift where you round down until you touch your toes, and roll back up to a standing position. This is a great exercise to add to your workouts or even just into your day to day life. Starting with just your body weight you can slowly increase to performing it with light weights. This can be extremely beneficial and help prevent future injuries from periods of sitting or lifting with your back rounded. It’s important to note that you should not perform this exercise if it causes you pain or you have a history of significant back pain. In those cases it’s important to access a health care professional to help guide you through this exercise and how you can make it work for your body.
Overall, when injuries happen, it’s because the tissue tolerance isn’t great enough to meet the demand of an activity. This can present itself with workouts and sports but also in day to day life. The best way to help prevent injuries is to strength train and increase your tissue tolerance. Strength training doesn’t have to be intimidating, getting moving a few times a week is a great way to decrease your risk of injuries!