It's no secret that splitting wood is great exercise, and can be a fun way to get some much-needed firewood in a fun and active way. With every spring comes all of the necessary yard work to recover from what can be a tough winter on your yard, especially if you lost a tree to high winds or snow and need to turn it into kindling. To make this necessary part of your spring cleaning safer and easier on your back, here are three tips to keep from injuring your back while chopping firewood this spring.
A Sharp Axe is a Safe Axe
This tip might sound contradictory to the beginner, but any experienced wood cutter knows that sharp tools are safe tools no matter how you're manipulating the wood. That's because a sharper axe is more likely to cut a log on the first swing, or at least lodge into the wood on the first try. This minimizes the chance for the axe to bounce off of the wood and go out of control, which can twist your wrist or hit your leg, or worse. This motion can also hurt your back, because the added resistance against your swing can put unnecessary strain on your back. If you notice your axe starting to bounce off of the logs frequently, you should definitely head down to the hardware store to get your axe sharpened pronto.
Chop in One Fell Swoop
Many seasoned wood choppers choose to take multiple hacks at the same piece of wood, or worse, they flip the log around with the axe in it and drop the log on the axe to try to split it. Moves like these put an incredible amount of stress on your lower back and arms, which can force you to call it a day very quickly. If you practice these types of swings regularly, you could end up in the doctor's office after a season or two for back pain if your symptoms worsen without a checkup.
Check Your Log Height
Believe it or not, there is an ideal height for your wood to rest at to minimize strain on your back: 14-16 inches to the top of your splitting block. This specific height will allow your swing to go all the way to completion, reducing the amount you'll under- or overextend your back. Plus, this height will keep you from having to bend over too far, since repeated bending and standing is a sure fire way to tire out your back.
Check out sites like http://swfna.com for more information on back pain and management.
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