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Spring Into Cleaning
Spring cleaning is sometimes difficult to start, but feels wonderful when we’re done. This process can not only be a difficult task to start, but also a difficult task on your muscles and joints. There below tips are some simple ways to make your spring cleaning safer and more enjoyable.
Prioritize your tasks
Decide which cleaning projects are best suited to spring. Save the rest for summer, fall and winter projects.
Make a plan
Tackle tasks in an efficient order. Some jobs are better for morning work, others are best left for later. Switch from hand work to reaching work to bending work to avoid stressing any one part of your body too long.
Choose the right tools
Use joint-friendly cleaning tools, such as long-handled dustpans. Choose tools and products that are made to be ergonomic, lightweight, automatic, long-handled. Get caught sitting down. When possible, use a bar-height stool with footrests to allow you to sit during projects, such as cleaning lower cabinets.
Avoid the urge to do it all at once
You can spread any one project out over days or weeks, if necessary. For example, tackle overhead cobwebs one room at a time.
Schedule rest breaks
Plan rest periods every 15, 30 or 60 minutes to conserve energy. Forging ahead may let you cross another task off your list sooner, but often sooner means sorer.
Take it with you
Avoid repeat trips to the closet for cleaning supplies by wearing a work apron with pockets for bottles, sponges, and rags. Be careful as to how much is loaded as the apron may become heavy and stress your back and shoulders. A wheeled utility cart can also be used to transport supplies from room to room.
Protect your joints
Don’t grip cloths tightly while cleaning. Keep your hand flat when moving the cloth or use a duster that fits over the whole hand. Prolonged gripping may cause overuse injuries to your wrist and hand. When cleaning with water, use a large sponge instead of a cloth, so you can squeeze out the water easily by pressing down on the sponge with the palm of your hand.
Moving heavy objects
First, your body should be warmed up before any heavy lifting, moving or carrying of objects. A warm up can be as easy as a 5-minute brisk walk followed by some gentle muscle stretching. Never attempt to move something you do not feel comfortable doing and it is always better to ask for help if it’s available. It is important to use your stronger leg muscles when moving objects and remember that pushing is safer for your back compared to pulling.
Following the above tips should help to prevent many aches and pains. Some injuries, however, are difficult to prevent and when one does occur it is important to address it quickly. Your Physical Therapist can give you advice and assist you in relieving your pain and returning to your normal activities.
The purpose of Physical Therapy is two-fold when dealing with injuries. One, it can greatly help to reduce the amount of pain and disability one will suffer after an injury. Second, Physical Therapy will help patients to prevent reoccurrences of injury through proper education, stretching and strengthening exercises.