Get your mops and dusters out. Now that spring has officially arrived, many people are getting a start on their spring cleaning and gardening. A good clean can do wonders to freshen up the environment and liven up your mood and spirits. However, this extra elbow grease may come with some consequences. I've already had several clients come in with aches and pains from overdoing it or doing it with poor form. Here are some tips to avoid injury.
Avoid repetitive movements for a prolonged period of time. Whether you're continuously scrubbing something, or repeatedly pushing and pulling something, or constantly lifting something, remember to take frequent breaks. Your body is not used to the sudden increase in work demand, making it more vulnerable to injury. Instead, break down tasks, and do little and often.
Use proper body mechanics. Cleaning can be considered a form of workout rather than work, and good form applies here as well. When lifting, keep objects close to your body, bend your knees, and push up with your legs rather than arch your back. When vacuuming, use both hands to hold the vacuum, lunge forward and backward with your legs, and avoid turning and twisting your body.
Avoid awkward positions as they put a lot of strain on your body. If you're washing high windows or ceilings, use a secure ladder or stool so that you don't have to look up or reach up overhead. If you're scrubbing the bathtub or weeding the garden, remember not to reach too far in any direction. If you're cleaning small or cramped spaces, consider using reaching devices or tools instead of squeezing yourself into a tight awkward spot.
Use tools to assist you. Mops and dusters were invented for a reason! Many people believe that the old school way of washing floors on their hands and knees and leaning over bathtubs and scrubbing are more effective, but that can put a lot of stress on the body. Clean small areas at a time with these devices to avoid leaning too far forward. If you must clean the floor by hand, kneel on a pad or cushion to avoid irritating your knees.
Don't ignore pain. If something hurts, stop and rest. Pain is a warning sign that something is wrong with your body, so don't keep pushing on. If you find yourself in pain, don't hesitate to seek professional help. Springtime is just beginning; there are lots to do at this time of year, and you don't want to find yourself injured before the fun even starts!