Yard Work Can be a Great Work Out! Follow These Tips to Stay Healthy this Summer

by: Dr. Todd Rech, MPT

While our lives have all been altered in some way by COVID-19, I believe our yards will benefit! I have observed a lot more people in their yards tending to spring projects. Working in the yard can be a great way to achieve some daily activity during these times of social distancing. I’ve compiled some things to consider, as well as a few safety guidelines, if you do choose to get out and tackle some yard work. 

Yard work or outdoor maintenance can encompass a wide range of activity. Spreading 5 yards of mulch is significantly different than doing some light raking. Transplanting a tree is much more strenuous than planting some potted flowers. While the intensity of activities varies significantly, it is also as important to consider your level of physical fitness and health prior to tackling any project. We all have a varying degree of fitness and health wellness, and it is important to recognize your individual fitness baseline prior to starting any exercise or activity regimen.

It is important to consider these things regardless of your fitness level.

  1. Use good body mechanics. Use your hips and knees when bending or shoveling to avoid excessive strain on your back. The leg and hip muscles are also the largest, and potentially strongest muscles in our bodies.
  2. Pace yourself. Take frequent breaks to avoid over doing it. A good guideline to follow is if you are unable to carry on a conversation with someone due to your breathing, you should take a break.
  3. Avoid repetition. Try not to do the same activity over and over. You might consider having two or multiple projects that you can shift between to use different parts of your body.
  4. Stretch or Warm up before you start. It ‘s a good idea to warm up before exercise, and yard work is a form of exercise.
  5. If you experience worsening pain, you should stop. Worsening pain is a signal from your body telling you it needs a break. Applying ice to your painful area can help reduce inflammation and soreness.

I believe we are in for a summer of some of the best looking yards that we have seen in years! I hope you are able to get outside, enjoy some fresh air, and get some exercise. Be safe, and good luck with your projects!

If you find that you may have overdone it, give us a call. Body One PT has three convenient locations serving Central Indianapolis: North Indy/Carmel, Fishers, and Zionsville. We’re both locally-owned and operated and each of our locations offers free injury screening! Call today and we’ll get you moving in the right direction!