Spring into Action

Spring is on it’s way and for outdoor enthusiasts it can be easy to spring into action with plenty of activities. Whether you’re a “green thumb”, outdoor sports player, or a recreational guru it is important to take special care of your body before, during and after these activities.

Now that the white stuff is finally melting away, creating puddles and greenery, many home owners are preparing their yards for clean up and gardening. Having the “Perfect” yard or garden may be a dream for some but it is important to remember that yard work can be just as taxing as a workout or going to the gym. Did you know that yard work and gardening is the number one cause for neck or back pain in the spring and summer seasons?

Gardening doesn’t have to be a pain in the neck. Here are some tips so you can enjoy the fruits of your labour during these warmer months.

Stretch your stem out! Take time to prepare your body for what’s ahead. Warm up and cool down your muscles, they will thank you. You can burn 300-400 calories per hour of moderate gardening. Add a short walk and you’ll have a good overall open-air work out.

Bend your knees, lift with ease. Keep heavy loads close to your body. Keep your back straight and bend your knees when picking up and putting down loads. Avoid twisting when lifting. Ask for a hand with heavy or awkward loads. Gardening can be a great way to engage children in activity as well.

Right moves, right tools. The right moves can prevent strain on your body. Mix it up, alternate positions. Kneel to plant and weed, pace yourself. Make sure tools are the right size for you and are comfortable. There are many tools now that are designed with ergonomics in mind. Long padded handles and spring action mechanisms can reduce strain and effort.

Take a refresh break. Get up, move around, alternate tasks, do another stretch, or just sit back, relax and have a cold drink. Try to not over extend yourself, take a few brief breaks every hour.  Your back will thank you!

If gardening is not your thing, perhaps outdoor sports like soccer, baseball, tennis or golf is more your avenue. If you are a parent of an avid athlete, here are some tips both of you could benefit from.

Warm up! Stretching can properly prepare your muscles and joints for the activity ahead. It can also prevent injuries and strains.

Hydration is key. Pro or not, all bodies need adequate hydration. Drink before, during and after all activity. Especially on hot summer days.

Proper nutrition is the fuel. A good balanced diet is equally important to the activity you preform. Make sure to have a small healthy meal 1 hour before any strenuous activity, practice, or game.  Proper nutrients replenish and refuel the body.

Prevention and Education. Youngsters can be fearless when it comes to risk taking and act as though they are invincible. It is important to teach your children preventative methods when preforming sports or any physical activity. Make sure your child is wearing proper clothing and has the proper equipment that fits properly.

Rest, recharge and reload. 8-10 hours of sleep is essential for the body to recharged after any moderate to high level of activity. Lack of sleep or rest can catch up with you and decrease performance and can also increase the chance of injury.

If you or your child have persistent pain or have sustained an injury seek chiropractic care immediately. The sooner the injury is treated the quicker the recovery.

Justine Kalivoda