President’s Perspective – Autumn Chores

As the weather begins to change, the need to prepare your home for winter arises. Autumn chores can be physically demanding – performing strenuous activities such as raking and bagging leaves. This is similar to the seasonal exertion brought about by shovelling snow. Working vigorously to get these chores done, before the cold sets in, can take a toll on your body.

Autumn yard chores from raking leaves to cleaning out eavestroughs include twisting, reaching, bending, lifting and carrying and can lead to falls or strain to your back and upper body. It is essential to take precautions with all these activities to help prevent injuries.

Always use extension ladders with care. Reliable sources claim that the highest number of hospitalizations from misuse of ladders occurs in the months of October and November. Inspect ladders for loose screws, hinges or rungs. Place ladders on firm, level surfaces and do not climb too high or stretch over to one side causing the ladder to tilt. Keep your body centered and maintain a firm grip.

Follow these tips to help avoid injury:

  • Warm up for at least 10 minutes with some stretching and light exercise.
  • Use a rake that's comfortable for your height and strength. You can prevent blisters by wearing gloves or using a rake with a padded handle.
  • Wear shoes or boots with slip-resistant soles.
  • Take it easy. To avoid muscle aches and pains, pace yourself and take breaks.  If you experience chest pain or shortness of breath, seek medical attention.
  • Vary your movements and alternate your leg and arm positions often. When picking up leaves, bend at the knees, not at the waist.
  • Don't overfill leaf bags, especially if the leaves are wet. You should be able to carry bags comfortably.
  • If you are an allergy-sufferer, consider wearing a dust mask to filter out allergens, moulds and other contaminants.  Avoid burning piles of leaves and avoid bringing your work clothes into the house.  Remove and wash immediately.

 Safety, It’s an Attitude!

 Jack Smith, President