Seniors – Tips to Avoid Injuries While Doing Yard Work

You wake up one day and realize the grass needs to be mowed, you've got weeds to pull, the shade tree needs pruning again, and your garden needs a little TLC. When you're older, you might not feel like it. But the truth is, you may not be as strong as you used to be or have cat-like reflexes and balance like you did when you were younger. You can still work in the yard, but you've got to play it safe to avoid getting injured.

In fact, about 230,000 people a year visit hospital emergencies rooms for injuries from working in the yard, using a lawnmower, handling garden tools, or climbing a ladder. Here's how to avoid an injury when you decide to work in the yard:

Warm-Up

You might think this is just reserved for exercise, but in reality gardening and yard work do count as exercise. Before you dig in with your shovel, warm up by walking briskly and stretching your muscles.

Make Smart Moves

Pay attention to your body when you're moving, bending, or twisting. When lifting, always keep your back and bend from the knees. If you know your back easily tires while working in the yard, take it easy by using a cart or wheelbarrow to carry the load. Make smart moves and you'll be less likely to hurt your back, pull a muscle, or get hurt.

Stay Hydrated

When you're outside on warm days and working in the yard, you'll probably work up a sweat. Yard work is good exercise, but to prevent dehydration and muscle fatigue, stay hydrated. Keep a bottle water with you while you're working in the yard and drink throughout the day.

Protect Yourself from the Sun

A little time in the sun is good for vitamin D, strong bones, and better health. But too much sun can lead to a sunburn, skin damage, and cancer. Protect your skin from the sun by wearing pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and a hat. If you want to dress a little cooler, be sure to apply sunscreen with an SPF rating of 15 or higher to protect your skin from the sun's ultraviolet rays.

Practice Safety

Wearing gloves when you work in the yard can protect your hands from cuts, scrapes, thorny weeds and plants. Gloves can help prevent blisters, and those with a non-stick surface can help you get a better grip on the tools you plan to use. If you're going to use a ladder, make sure it's secure, or have someone hold it while you're on it. And when it comes to tools and machinery, be safe, wear protective eye wear when recommended, and use common sense.

Keep these safety tips in mind, and you'll have your yard looking good in no time, get a little exercise, and enjoy spending time outdoors, without getting injured.