It is spring, and garden season is upon us. Flowers are beginning to bloom, grass is growing quickly, and people are spending more time outside, mowing lawns, weeding and planting. If you have been relatively sedentary all winter be careful that you don’t overdo your springtime activities without warming up your body.
Before you get out in the yard stretch your muscles. Your back, shoulders, upper legs and wrists are all muscle groups that will be engaged while you are working in the yard or garden. Take a little time to warm up. Try these gentle stretches to wake up your muscle groups and reduce the muscle pain that you may feel the next day.
Begin by breathing deeply, you want to feel like you are filling your belly up with air instead of just your chest. Hold the breath for a second then breathe out rhythmically. Listen to your body while you are stretching, if something hurts, ease up. You want to be comfortable. If you have questions about how a particular stretch should feel or how far you should push call our office and set up an appointment. We can discuss your specific situation and your particular needs.
Start by getting the blood flowing. Engage in two or three minutes of light activity, perhaps walk briskly around the neighborhood. When you are warmed up stand straight, pull your core in, pull your shoulders back and have your feet about shoulder width.
Warm your back, legs, and rear up by doing 10 squats. Hold your hands together in front of you and slowly lower your backside. You want to keep your abs tight, back straight, and head in line with your back, always looking forward. Lower yourself like you are going to sit in a chair until your thighs are almost parallel to the floor. Keep your backside higher than your knees at all times and keep your knees over your ankles. If you are struggling to get your thighs almost parallel then don’t go that far down. Hold the down position for one or two seconds then slowly stand back up.
Next stand holding on to something for support, you can hold on to a fence or the wall, or just put a hand on your counter. Stand straight and bring your right foot up to your rear. Grab the foot with your right hand and gently pull your heel toward your buttocks. Keep your core tight and keep your hips even. Hold the stretch for ten or fifteen seconds. Switch legs. Do each leg twice.
Weave your fingers together and raise them over your head with the palms up. Lean toward the left and hold for about ten seconds, keeping your shoulders square. Keep facing forward. Keep your core tight. Straighten up and lengthen your back. Then lean toward the right for ten seconds. Come back to the middle and stretch upward. Repeat this three times.
Shrug your shoulders up and down three or four times. Do little forward circles with your shoulders, keeping your arms at your sides. Do little reverse circles. Turn you head to the left, then lower your chin, bringing it to the center of your chest. Turn to the right and repeat three times on each side.
Stand straight and wrap your arms around yourself. Hold gently and rotate to the left. Keep your feet planted. Turn as far as you can comfortably and hold it for ten seconds. Switch sides. Repeat three times.
Warm up your hands by holding your left hand palm out in front of you while you are standing straight and looking forward. Gently use your right hand to pull back slightly on your left fingers. Hold for 10 seconds. Switch hands. Circle your wrists when you are done. Now that you are warmed up and stretched out, go enjoy spring!