With the long, hot days of summer behind us, many people are turning their thoughts to fall chores like raking leaves and cleaning out gutters. This is a great time to get out and enjoy the cooler weather, but it’s important to take precautions to avoid the aches and sprains that can often go along with these tasks.

Alberta’s chiropractors offer the following health and safety tips to avoid injury this fall:

  1. Warm up and cool down. It may not seem like a workout, but one hour of raking can burn nearly 300 calories! Warm up for at least 10 minutes by walking and stretching to prevent straining your shoulders, neck and back. When you’re done your work, gentle stretching exercises will help relieve tension in your muscles.
  2. Choose the right tools. Use tools that are the right size for your height and stature. Look for ergonomic handles for comfort, ease of use and to prevent back strain.
  3. Wear the right clothing. Lightweight clothing will keep you warm without trapping sweat. Shoes should be sturdy to help prevent injuries to your feet and have slip-resistant soles to minimize the risk of falling. Gloves provide traction and help prevent blisters on your hands.
  4. Practice proper position. Stand upright and vary your movements often to avoid overusing muscle groups. Bend at the knees and not the waist when picking things up. Avoid tossing leaves over your shoulder or to the side, which can strain your back.
  5. Practice ladder safety. Ensure your ladder is in good repair with no loose screws, hinges or rungs. Position it on a firm, level surface and angle the ladder approximately 75 degrees from the ground. Always face the ladder when climbing and descending, and never sit or stand on the top of the ladder.
  6. Take frequent breaks. Rest every 10 to 15 minutes—repetitive tasks can strain your muscles and joints. Drink plenty of water and stretch to relieve any tension in your back, shoulders and neck.

If you or your family experience back pain this fall, seek relief from your chiropractor. Chiropractors are experts in back, muscle and joint pain and are specifically trained to diagnose and effectively treat these issues.

To find a chiropractor near you, visit www.albertachiro.com.