It’s apple picking season! The air is cool, the leaves are changing and everyone is starting to wear flannel. September and October bring this traditional fall past time that always gets us in the festive spirit. Apple pie. Apple Cider. What’s not to love about apple season?
The coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) has made it challenging for us to engage in many of our “normal” activities, but it is nice to know that this fall favorite tradition is still possible at a low to medium risk, due to its outdoors location. Fortunately, across the country, many of the pick-your-own orchards and farms are implementing new sanitation protocols in order to adapt to the pandemic concerns.
Reduced capacity, limited hours, temperature checks, mask requirements and pre-paid tickets are all ways that these small businesses are trying to adhere to the CDC and state guidelines, while still keeping their doors open and providing a welcome outing for families looking to get out for the day. So, while there may be no tractor rides or picnics this year, grab your pre-paid container and your hand sanitizer and enjoy a day outdoors.
You’ve got your basket and your mask and you are ready to start grabbing those apples, but injuring your back while enjoying the family outing can put a huge damper on your fall festivities. We have put together some basic tips that you can implement to make sure that the only thing you take home with you is a basket full of apples, and a happy family.
Most modern orchards offering a variety of trees, including dwarf trees that are close to the ground, to make apple picking easier for little hands. Unfortunately, bending over for long periods of time can increase strain on your lower back. A bent over position can put pressure on your lower back and cause your ligaments and muscles to be stretched beyond their comfort point. When bending over you should make sure to only bend at your knees and hips in order to reduce and prevent muscle strain.
Standing for Long Periods
Excessive standing, or standing for long periods, can also place significant strain on your lower back. A strain in your back can cause inflammation and can lead to muscle spasms. If you are going to be standing for long periods make sure that you don’t slouch. Maintaining a neutral pelvic position and alternating your feet while standing can take some of the load off your lower back. You can also keep your feet firmly planted shoulder-width apart to ensure even distribution of weight. Good posture makes a big difference.
Filling your bucket to the brim with delicious apples may be tempting, but balancing out your bounty may be a better option for your back. Lifting is another common culprit that can cause low back pain. If you must lift something heavy (children count!), then make sure that you let your legs do the work. Hold the load close to your body and keep your back straight — avoid twisting while you lift. Better yet, see if your kids can carry some of their own apples! If you have small children that may need to be carried, find out if the orchard will allow a small wagon or stroller so that you can avoid last minute issues.
Making sure that you take time to stretch before your walk, especially if you have had a long car ride, can also assist with limbering up before a hard day’s work of apple picking. Likewise, taking a few minutes to survey your surroundings, taking in the beautiful fall scenery, and enjoying these precious moments with friends or family, can have the added benefit of making sure that your muscles are relaxed and are therefore less prone to injury.
We hope that these simple tips will help make your fall festivities into the most memorable experience possible. With so many traditions cancelled in 2020 it is wonderful to know that with a few extra precautions, you can still enjoy special moments with your loved ones. For more tips on preventing low back pain, follow us on social media.