By Clint Lutterman, Doctor of Physical Therapy

Warmer weather is here, which is excellent! As physical therapists, we encourage you to get outside and introduce some more movement into your daily routine- whether it’s through walking, running, biking, shooting some hoops, or gardening! However, we want you to do this safely!

Injuries often occur when people jump into activity after being more at rest during the winter. Warming up is a great idea before any activity, but even when you’re gardening it’s important. Before you start working in the yard or gardening, we recommend doing these two exercises:

  1. Sit in a chair and lean forward to stretch your back.
  2. Sit in a chair and stand up repeatedly to strengthen your legs. Use hands to help push off if you need to.

As you return to your garden, remember to protect your knees. Sitting on a small stool keeps your knees off the ground and raises you up, making getting up a little easier.

Another option is a good kneeling pad or set of knee pads, which take some of the pressure off the knees and makes kneeling more comfortable. A long-handled shovel is good for digging, but also makes a good support as you get up from the ground.

Don’t feel like you need to get everything done at one time. Work in short spurts to allow your muscles to recover and your body to get used to this new activity.

As always, hydration is important. Remember to water yourself along with your new plants!