My intention was to have this written before the weekend. The weather guessers said that it was going to be nice and for a change they were right. Like many others I spent several hours outdoors trying to clean up the yard while enjoying some nice weather, thus bringing up the topic of this post, the “Yard Warrior”. The typical story is that at the onset of spring, we jump out into the yard determined to undo the months of hard weather and neglect in a matter of hours or maybe over a weekend. What I see as a result of this is either someone who is so sore that they can hardly move, or someone who has genuinely hurt themselves. Most patients can’t describe a single moment when they went from functional to hurt, they just know that they did more than what their body was really ready for. So here are some strategies for the future when you decide to put your “yard warrior” hat on.
– Have a plan and stick to it. Everybody says the same thing, “I was just going to do this one thing and ended up working all day long.” Even if you exercise regularly, the repetitive bending, squatting, raking, and lifting associated with yard work is likely far different than your normal activities. Decide (ahead of time) on a time limit or area of work that you’d like to complete, and when you hit that goal save the rest for another day. That doesn’t mean that you have to go and sit down and not do anything else, just give the yard work a break.
– Prepare yourself for the work at hand. Take an extra 5 minutes before you dive into the work and take a brisk walk. Walk a couple of minutes down your street at a brisk pace, tall from the top of your head and with a strong arm swing from the shoulders. When you get back to your house you should be loose and warm and ready to work. It’s a much better strategy than launching into work without some preparation.
– Plan ahead and organize your work so that you can switch between 2 or 3 different activities that require different positions and effort. Instead of raking the entire yard first and then bagging the debris, consider raking for a set period of time (no more than 10 minutes) or a certain area, then bagging the debris, then finding something else to do for a few minutes. The goal is to vary your activity and position frequently enough so that you don’t overdo it in one area only to pay for it later.
– Stay hydrated. Water loss from your body can be deceiving in the spring and fall when the temperatures are mild. Since it is less likely that you will be sweating (like in the summer) you may not feel like you’re losing much water to the environment, but the lower temperatures and lower humidity can draw water out of your body more quickly than you think. Staying hydrated will help to keep your body working most efficiently.
Regardless of whether you apply these strategies to yard work, housework, or otherwise, a little planning will help to reduce your chances of injury or overuse. If it’s a little late for this advice and you’ve already overdone it, consider coming in for an adjustment to reduce your discomfort and recovery time. If you’re not just sore but hurt, don’t delay getting in for treatment! The sooner you address the issue the sooner you will recover.
If you have any questions regarding these strategies or questions pertaining to Chiropractic care in general, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Your Virginia Beach Chiropractor
Mark Bawcom DC