Avoid spring-cleaning injuries with these helpful tips
The month of April brings warmer days and the inspiration to clean our
homes and work outside in our yards. But according to the American
Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, “in 2008 more than 40,000 Americans
injured themselves gardening and more than 38,000 people injured
themselves using a stepladder.” This is largely because after months of a
more sedentary lifestyle, our bodies are more susceptible to injury
when we exert ourselves. Here are some general tips that will allow you
to embrace the annual ritual of spring cleaning, without the back lash
of sustaining an injury.
Ease into it
If you haven’t been exercising regularly, it’s unreasonable to think you
can tackle big household jobs all at once. Schedule your tasks
reasonably. Now is also the perfect time to spring into better shape.
Enjoy walks outside, or take a fitness or pool class, both offered by NPT.
Ask for help
Don’t try to lift heavy things like furniture or planters by yourself.
Remember to squat and lift objects with the support of your knees, not
Make use of tools and use them the right way
Clean the floor with a mop, as opposed to washing the floor on your hands and knees; it will reduce the strain on your back.
Use a steady and wide base of support
Use a step stool instead of furniture to dust in high corners. To use a
ladder correctly, set it on a solid and level surface and position it as
close to your work area as possible to avoid overreaching. Fully open
the ladder and lock the spreaders before climbing.
Choose appropriate clothing to avoid injury
Wear clothing that is suitable for the task, usually loose fitting
garments of breathable fabric. Wear gloves to protect you hands from
blisters and bites. Opt for appropriate footwear with durable,
rubber-soled shoes that have some traction to avoid slipping on a wet
Pull weeds with the support of your legs
Pulling weeds with your legs will put less strain on your back. Also try to tighten abdominal muscles when pulling.
If you do find yourself injured or feeling more strain than usual, contact NPT
or your physician for an assessment. Being proactive with treatment
can get you back to feeling better more quickly, allowing you to enjoy
the rest of Michigan’s warm seasons.