Top 5 Tips to Prevent Injury
May 8, 2020
by Jake Nienow, PT, DPT
- Ramp up your activity slowly. Spring weather may be calling you to the golf course, bike trails, yard and garden. If you haven’t been as active, don’t expect to pick up where you left off. If you’re a golfer, don’t swing at 100% and play 9 holes instead of 18 for the first few weeks. Start with shorter bike rides or walks. When tackling outdoor projects, split your project into smaller jobs and work for realistic chunks of time.
- Stretch before activity. Before you head outdoors to work in your yard, garden and other projects, spend 5-10 minutes warming up your body to get yourself ready for more activity. Do the same before you go for a walk or run, hop on the bike, grab your racquet or head for the golf course.
- No Pain-No Gain is not the answer. Listen to your body. If you develop aches and pains early on, give yourself time to rest and recover instead of pushing through just to get it done. In early spring, clinics see a high prevalence of repetitive injuries when people overdo it and don’t let their bodies recover. If aches and pains do not resolve in approximately a week, seek medical care.
- Update your gear. As soon as the weather gets nice we want to hit the ground running. Make sure your shoes are not too worn down as this can lead to lower leg and lower back issues. The benefit of proper footwear is often undervalued. When it comes to yard work, making sure your tools are ready to go can also prevent injuries. You can order gear and tools online.
- Lift safely. Yard work, gardening and outdoor projects can require heavy lifting. Make sure you have a clear path and check the weight of the object by pushing it with your foot. Then lift with your legs, not your back. Face the object, avoid twisting, keep feet shoulder-width apart, bend your legs, keep your back straight, then lift. Ask for help from a family member if it’s too heavy or awkward.
Try to stay active year-round. Our bodies don’t always rebound well especially as we age. Staying active can help you build strength, increase endurance and lower your risk for injury and falls. Walking and strength training exercises are a great way to keep moving in all 4 seasons.
Learn more about Mankato Clinic Physical Therapy.