This time of year many of us are cleaning up the yard after a long winter, and getting it ready to look beautiful for the summer. Not done properly, raking, mowing, weeding, digging, and mulching can wreak havoc on your body.
Here are a few simple tips that can help save you from pain and misery
1. Rome Wasn't Conquered in a Day: Spring clean up can be a big job, so pace yourself. Schedule out 1 or 2 things to get done per day. Remember, you haven't done this type of work in a while. Don't hurt yourself trying to finish everything in one day.
2. Warm-up/Stretch: Yard work is a physical activity, it is best to prepare your body prior to doing it. Go for a quick 15 minute walk and perform some gentle stretching before starting. This can help reduce the chance for injury.
3. Stay Hydrated: Staying well hydrated is important for your muscles to function optimally. Dehydration can happen quickly, especially in the heat, which can lead to cramping and spasms. Plan a water break every 15-30 minutes when working. Stay away from alcohol or caffeine as these will further dehydrate you. Save that beer for when you are finished!
4. Listen To Your Body: It is important to be aware of feedback from your body. Know your limits. If you are beginning to feel tired, nauseous, or weak it is time to take a break or maybe call it a day. The most common time an injury happens is when you are tired.
5. Let Ice Be Your Friend: When you are finished working for the day, apply ice to any areas that may be already feeling sore. A couple quick 20 minute applications of ice can help prevent or reduce inflammation from forming in the area, which will reduce soreness. This can save you a lot of misery the following day.
Lastly, get into the chiropractor to get your spine checked both before and after working outside. It is important to go into the activity with a strong, healthy spine prior to putting an increased stress load onto it. Following the activity, get your spine checked again to minimize further development of any problems that may have happened. Following these simple tips can not only reduce or minimize the chance of injury, but can also just make things much more enjoyable.