Outdoor activities like gardening are a healthy and enjoyable way to live an active lifestyle. When the weather is nice, the outdoors are hard to resist. However, a lack of warm up and stretching can lead to aches and pains, even injuries.
A reduction in activity during winter leads to a decrease in physical conditioning. As a result, people tend to overestimate their physical abilities (and limits). Pain from gardening in the lower back, and aches in the shoulders, neck, knees and joints from cleaning the garage, or from other outdoor activities are common.
When the body engages in a strenuous activity, combined with uncomfortable and awkward positions, it responds with pain and sometimes, injury. As physical therapists, we work with many individuals who experience strains and overuse injuries. The most common cause is an insufficient warm-up and the absence of a stretching routine.
Yard work is another example. Awkward (and unfamiliar) body positions during mowing, trimming, seeding and raking are uncomfortable for the body. When performed over an extended period, a chronic, painful condition can emerge.