Spring can be an exciting time of warmer weather and more time spent outdoors, but it can also mean increased chance for injuries. From the sports enthusiast to someone working in their garden, musculoskeletal injuries can occur even with the best of intentions. While not all injuries can be avoided, a few easy precautions can lower the risk of problems arising.
1. Know your limits
The first precaution to consider in preventing musculoskeletal injuries is knowing one’s limits. If a person’s winter season has been spent participating in mostly sedentary activities, it is important to ease into being more active. For example, instead of trying to jog around the block the first time out for the season, consider walking at a brisk pace instead. As your muscles regain their strength, flexibility, and endurance the activity can be progressed to be more challenging.
2. Use good body mechanics
Spring can be a time when most of us are getting flower beds ready, mulching, and starting up the lawn mower. When performing these different tasks, it is helpful to ensure that lifting, carrying, bending, and squatting are all done with good form and done so safely. If something is too difficult to do properly by one person, enlist the help of someone else.
Finally, the third precaution to bear in mind is preparation. Whether the goal is to run a marathon or chase after grandchildren, preparation is key. Stretching before doing strenuous activity is very helpful in preventing harm to muscles by ensuring there is enough flexibility to do the task correctly. Also, doing separate strengthening exercises that either mimic or contain parts of a certain activity (like doing lunges to prepare for getting on the ground to plant flowers i.e.) can limit strain on joints and muscles.
Sometimes it can be daunting to know where to start when planning on getting into being more active. A great resource for specific questions on body mechanics, posture, and exercise ideas is the wonderful Physical Therapists of COPC.