Spring Cleaning 101 – Tips To Avoid Injuries
It’s that time of year again! The first day of spring has come and it’s time to embrace the warmer weather. After being stuck inside during the cold winter months we are all itching to jump into spring cleaning projects. Whether those projects be inside or outside, it is important to be safe and avoid possible injuries. It is easy to get carried away when the sun is shining bright, the sky is clear and blue, and the birds are chirping. It is best to start slow after all those months of winter hibernation.
Getting Started with Spring Cleaning
The best way to start tackling your spring cleaning is to make a written list of all the chores you want to accomplish both inside and outside. Making a list helps organize and prioritize the tasks needed to be done. It is important to spread out your projects to minimize aches and pains. Below are ways to avoid injury while crossing off all those items on your “to-do list”
Before starting any task, whether inside or outside, a warm-up is important as it reduces your risk of injury. Consider performing a few light exercises to warm up before tackling the chores:
- A five to ten-minute walk
- Gentle hamstring and calf stretches
- Squats: Sit and stand from a chair 10-15 times
- Lower trunk rotations 10 times to each side. Lay on your back, and rock your hips from right to left
From cleaning and decluttering the inside of your home, to raking leaves and pruning bushes, proper body mechanics during any type of spring cleaning is very important. Remember these few tips to avoid any achy backs and knees:
- Always maintain good posture. Keep your back straight and your head up.
- Lift with your legs and not your back. Lift with your legs and bend with your knees.
- Be conscious of the items you are lifting and how heavy they are. Always carry items close to your body.
- Use your body weight to move objects. When pushing a lawnmower or wheelbarrow, try to use your body weight to move instead of your arms and back
- Rake properly. Take the pressure off your back by using the “scissor stance”. Place one foot in front of the other and keep a slight bend in your knees. Reverse the lead leg after 5-10 minutes.
- Use to proper tools. Choose ergonomic tools that have extra padding, large or curved handles as they place less stress on your muscles and joints.
It is important to not tackle your entire to-do list in one day. Doing so will cause fatigue and may ultimately put you more at risk for an injury. When tackling your spring cleaning remember these few important tips:
- Take Breaks. Pace yourself. When you feel your body is tired slow down and rest. Admire the work you have accomplished thus far.
- Drink lots of water. Staying hydrated helps keep your muscles loose.
- Choose a few different tasks instead of just one. Changing tasks throughout the day helps prevent repetitive strain injury of specific muscle groups.
We’re Here to Help
If you do experience any aches and pains in your back, shoulders or knees, contact your closest Ivy Rehab Physical Therapy as soon as possible to make your appointment or for a complimentary wellness screen!
Article Reviewed by Holly Lookabaugh-Deur, PT, DSc, GCS, CEEAA
Holly Lookabaugh-Deur, PT, DSc, GCS, CEEAA is a practicing physical therapist and a partner and Director of Clinical Services at Ivy Rehab Network. Deur is board certified as a geriatric clinical specialist and certified exercise expert for aging adults with more than 35 years of clinical experience. She is certified as an aquatic and oncology rehabilitation specialist and serves as adjunct faculty at Central Michigan University and Grand Valley State University.