Pull Weeds not Muscles

This recent warm weather has turned me and many of my reader’s attention toward the yard and garden season!  While gardening is a fantastic hobby and very rewarding, the next few weeks will flood my office with people who pulled a muscle rather than the pesky weed they were aiming for!

You wouldn’t plant your garden without tilling and fertilizing the soil, would you?  It only makes sense that you would take a few minutes to prepare your body for the busy outdoor season ahead. Try the following injury prevention exercises prior to heading outside!

Hamstring stretches; good for those who have discomfort in the back of the legs after pulling weeds and continual bending in the yard. Let’s start in the chair with this one. With your back and knee straight, lean in until you feel a gentle pull along the back of the leg. Try to keep the knee from “popping up”.  Hold this position 30 seconds and repeat 4 times on each leg.

Knee(s) to chest; This is a particularly good one for those who have low back pain. Start laying on a comfortable surface; gently bring one knee to your chest being careful to avoid pain.  Hold this position 30 seconds and repeat 4 times on each leg.  If this is quite tolerable, try both knees at the same time!

Scapular setting; Sitting or standing, gently pull your shoulder blades down and together. Hold this position 5 seconds and repeat 10-20 times based on how you feel.


Wrist flexion and extension stretches; Elbow straight, gently pull your fingers and wrist towards you palm up. Hold 30 seconds and repeat 4 times. Reverse the palm position and repeat. This is one will help those people who have pain with repeated hand tool use.

Toe touches; Careful to avoid straining or fast movements here. Start seated if you must. Begin by reaching your hands in the air, slowly bend at the waist and attempt to touch your toes. Don’t strain, just go as close to your toes as you can get….remember you will need to get back up!  Repeat this 10 times and work your way up to 2 or 3 sets.

Other helpful tips include; bending at your knees to lift that heavy potted plant, don’t jerk your body and remember to breathe while lifting!  Take frequent brakes and know your limits in the yard. Keep a stool or bench nearby as this may extend your ability to work in the garden.