Spring is in the Air – How to Make Sure that Injury Isn’t!
With the warmer weather and longer days ahead, many of us head outdoors and take advantage of early spring days to tackle projects around the house. Yet, if you only think of it as “cleaning up the garage” or “doing some landscaping” instead of “lifting weight” or “a lot of repetitive motion” you might end up hobbling back to work on Monday and nursing some pretty sore muscles (or actual injuries!). We took at look at how this time of year can bring more than just April showers or May flowers, and what you can do to safeguard against injury while getting some outdoor spring cleaning or yard work done.
Gardening & Landscaping is Work!
You might not think of it that way, but you should. Raking up debris, removing waste from flower beds, lifting bags of mulch or landscaping stones, even crouching and bending in your garden are all motions that can be awkward and put some major strain on your major (and minor) muscles and connective tissue. Before you know it, it’ll even be time to fire up the lawn mower – and if you push-mow your lawn, you know that can work up a sweat.
The Risk: Overdoing it on the weekend. It’s easy to see a perfect forecast this time of year and think “I can tackle that yard/garden now!” Cramming in a bunch of physical activity that you’re not used to or prepared for is a good way to strain something or even risk acute injury.
The Recommendation: Eat the elephant a bite at a time. Divide up the project so that you’re not cramming it all into one day -or even one weekend. Practice some light stretching to loosen up your body, and gently ease into your day’s work before you start lugging heavy bags of potting soil or hauling dead leaves out of the garden. Don’t lift more than you can comfortably. If you aren’t in good health, think twice before spending a day toiling in the yard.
Your Spring-Cleaning Might Weigh More than You Think!
If your garage or storage area is typical, you probably have plenty of tools, toys, bikes, vehicles, and more taking up space. You’re also often lifting above your head to put items on shelves, or hang them up on the wall, putting stress on shoulders, arms, and neck muscles.
The Risk: Lifting more than you’re comfortable with and straining or injuring yourself. You don’t have to drag or lift very many typical garage-stored items before you realize that most of that stuff is in the garage for a reason, i.e., it’s cumbersome and often heavy. If you head outside on a Saturday and start throwing stuff in a pile for donation, you may also throw your back out.
The Recommendation: Be sure to use proper form lifting anything – use your legs and not your back. If it’s an awkward or extra-heavy load, be sure to ask for help. Space out this project over time so it isn’t all at once. If your health is poor, ask for help and see if you can sit this out.
Body One Physical Therapy has five locations serving central Indiana, ready to help you enjoy your spring and summer (although we can’t make your yard work disappear): South Indianapolis, North Indianapolis, Downtown Indianapolis, Fishers, and Zionsville. Our highly-trained and caring team of providers is dedicated to helping get you back on track and feeling great. Call us today so you can relax this summer season!