After a long, cold winter, many of us will use spring to get back into outdoor activities such as yard-work. This sudden increase in exercise may result in sore muscles and aching joints.
Here are a few tips to stay healthy over the growing-season:
- Warm up before starting. Similar to any other physical activity, the muscles need a chance to limber up. Gardening can strain the back and leg muscles due to the continuous bending and lifting – be sure to warm-up those muscles.
- Break up the heavy stuff. If you are turning over the garden or lifting heavy soil, take short breaks every 15 minutes and do something less vigorous. If you start to feel sore, take a longer break or finish it the next day.
- Watch your posture. Carry heavy weight as close to your body as possible. When picking up or putting down objects, bend your knees and try to keep your spine in a neutral position.
- Get close to your work. When weeding or planting, use a bench or a small stool to get low to the ground instead of stooping over. This reduces the strain on your back.
- Stretch afterwards – especially if you tend to be stiff after gardening. Stretch the trouble spots such as the backs of your thighs, low back, and calf muscles.
Is it serious? Mild stiffness is common when beginning new activities but occasionally more serious injuries occur. A good guideline is: If the pain worsens or persists longer than 48 hours, see a health professional (chiropractor/physiotherapist/massage therapist) for advice.
For more tips on staying injury-free while working outside, or for specific stretches, get in touch with one of our professionals.