Injury Prevention in the Garden
Fitness guru Wes Cole offers valuable advice on how to keep gardening from becoming a pain in the neck -- and back and knees.
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Yard work can be hard physical labor. And if done improperly, yard work can lead to injury. Wes Cole, Paul James’ personal trainer and overall fitness guru, gives us valuable advice on how to keep gardening from becoming a pain in the neck—and back and knees.
"Preparation for a day of garden work is very similar to that of working out in the gym," according to Wes. "It’s critical that you warm up your body before you stretch," Wes explains.
Wes’s favorite way to warm up is just to take a hot shower. That's what a lot of athletes do and it’s been proven to decrease injury. An alternate way to warm up is to take a stroll through your yard to elevate the temperature of your muscles. Once your blood is flowing you can move on to stretches.
Start with the largest muscle groups first: your legs. Try a basic hamstring stretch, then move on to the hips and work each side to ensure you keep an even keel. Next do some toe raises to get the blood flowing to your calves and help prevent dangerous pulls and tears. Simple arm circles help prevent sore arms and help get your body ready for the range of motion needed in gardening, particularly in your shoulders.
Here are some additional hints to prevent strains and injury:
- Remain as upright as you can when raking, hoeing and performing other gardening tasks. This keeps the strain off your back. Also be sure to buy tools with handles made for your height.
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