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Autumn provides an excellent outdoor workout. There’s lots to do to prepare your yard to hibernate for the winter which is a great excuse to bump up your exercise regime through this colourful season. As with any physical activity there are precautions to take in order to prevent injury.

There is a lot of stretching, cramping, craning, and lifting when you’re running the lawnmower that last time, planting spring bulbs, raking, cleaning the gutters, pruning shrubs, carrying yard waste bags to the curb, and storing outdoor furniture.

Fall FunBegin by being mindful of your body’s limits – you know best how hard you can push yourself and when you need a break. Taking a break not only stops you from pushing your physical limits too far too fast, it also gives you the opportunity to correct your stance, your strategy, and change your tools. If you hurt during yardwork, or feel a twinge when you take a break, adjust what you’re doing, even if that is to stop that particular chore and move on to something else for a while; pain is a signal that something is wrong. That chore will still be there when you’re ready to go back for round 2!

Use tools that suit your height and that are practical for the task. Lawn mowers, aerators, and fertilizer distributors generally have adjustable handles so take advantage of that. Wheelbarrows don’t tend to have adjustable handles so take care to fill them only as much as you can comfortably maneuver. Use cushions, kneepads, elbow pads, or stools to protect your joints and remain in one spot comfortably while you dig up annuals or plant your spring tulips.

Do you rely on your dominant arm to rake or dig or shovel or spread or plant? Switching hands distributes the action not only from one arm to the other but also across your whole upper torso giving you a balanced workout and diminishing muscle strain. Working in an ambidextrous fashion even benefits brain function!

When lifting or moving outdoor furniture or planters to their winter homes remember to bend at your hinges – knees and hips – and lift with your legs not with your back. Take any opportunity to make more trips vs. carrying heavier loads. Use wheeled carts to help, or part with a few of your hard-earned dollars to hire the neighbourhood kids to help you out.

Suit up! This may not seem like a strategical part of the yardwork process, but feeling comfortable decreases the stress to rush through your chores and over exert yourself. Wear comfortable shoes or boots that are up to your tasks both for movement, the type of ground you’re on, and to protect your feet from an errant shovel or unseen stone. Dress in layers so that you can remove your coat or sweater and hang it on the porch rather than pause your task to go inside and change. Wear protective gloves to avoid blisters, splinters or abrasions from tool handles, sharp furniture edges, or thorny branches.

Don’t forget to hydrate! Even though the heat of summer has passed for another year you are still burning energy and working up a sweat and susceptible to dehydration.

If you aren’t sure whether your body is up to yardwork this fall, call Wilson Health Services to find out how our team can help you reach a fitness level that compliments your lifestyle. Call us at 519-624-8000 to book an appointment for chiropractic care, physiotherapy, chiropody treatments, or massage therapy.

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Wilson Health Blog

Wilson Health Services

Wilson Health Services was founded in June of 2001 by Dr. Jason Wilson.  The office has grown over the years and is now a bustling multidisciplinary office.  Our team includes two Chiropractors, five Registered Massage Therapists, two Physiotherapists, an Acupuncturist, a Naturopath, a Chiropodist and a Low Intensity Laser Therapist.

 

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