- Pace yourself - do a job for 30 minutes, then do a different one, then go back to the first one for a bit. This will avoid overuse of one particular set of joints and muscles (and stop you getting bored!).
- Lawn-mowing - the grass is often wet and heavy at this time of year which can strain the back as you manoeuvre a heavy lawn-mower. Wait for a dry windy day as the grass will be drier, and therefore lighter, and raise the level of the blades. This will make it easier to cut - and the grass will thank you for it too (it's better to leave it a little longer over the winter months). Better still - leave the box off the back and let the mowings 'mulch' in.
- Raking - the twisting, pulling movement that we do to rake up leaves can really twist and jar the low back and hips. Try to do shorter strokes and move your feet to avoid twisting at the waist. Easier still, make a cup of tea and let the wind do the work - the leaves will blow across the lawn and get trapped by the stems in the flower bed where they'll act as a good mulch over the winter.
- Pathways - paving slabs and decking can be lethal in the winter months. I was at my parents' house the other weekend and 'jet-washed' the path - much to the dismay of my Dad who liked the 'mossy' look. However, as I reminded them both with Mum's slightly fragile bones and Dad's artificial hips it was an accident waiting to happen - and I can't be spending the autumn driving back and forth to Oxfordshire (added to which I nearly broke my neck slipping on the stones last time I was galloping out to the car). So, a happy afternoon with the pressure washer and my wellies and the path looks much better (even Dad agrees, reluctantly) and is far less slippy. Have a bag of cheap dishwasher salt handy to sprinkle down if it gets icy - or even a bucket of salty sand from the beach!
- Digging - don't attempt to do the winter digging all in one go. Do a little bit each day, and don't bother breaking up the clods - the worms and the frost will do the work for you!
- Wheelbarrows - it's really tempting to fill the barrow to the brim, whether it be with lawn-mowings, weeds or logs for the log-burner. However, this can make it unstable and heavy which might cause you to strain your back and shoulders. It's far better to half-fill it twice as often, and make sure you bend your knees when you lift anything heavy. The same goes for the log basket or coal bucket - half fill it twice as often.
- Get help - They say that many hands make light work, so if you're going to be doing a slightly difficult job, get someone to give you a hand. Whilst at my parents I suggested that it might make more sense for me to go up the ladder and cut back the climber from the side of the house, rather than Mum doing it - another possible broken hip averted...
With the evenings drawing in and the mornings feeling damp and dewy, there's definitely a sense of autumn in the air. Thankfully we're still getting a few warm sunny days and there are plenty of jobs that need doing, tidying up after the fantastic summer we've had and preparing for the winter ahead. Whether it be mowing the lawn one last time, digging up the last of the potatoes, or reaching up to get that enormous blackberry at the top of the bush just don't overdo it! Otherwise, you'll be calling the clinic, and much as I love to see you, there are a few things that you can be doing to stay away!...
Your Chiropractor at Llangefni Chiropractic Clinic