by Inetta Fluharty, ATP, West Virginia AgrAbility Program Specialist
Thinking of getting an early start on gardening, spring cleaning or outdoor activities? Before any project or activity is started, do some minimal exercise to to prevent injury and to prepare your muscles that have likely been resting all winter.
For each of these listed, you should complete at least four repetitions:
- Cross arms over chest or place hands on hips
- Twist trunk (at waist) to look over one shoulder
- Repeat in the opposite direction
- Touch tip of thumbnail to tip of index fingernail making an “O” shape
- Open hand widely after each “O”
- Repeat with each finger on both hands
- Rest hands on shoulders, elbows pointed out.
- Make circles with elbows varying size and direction of circles
- Increase the intensity by positioning arms outward at shoulder level and make circles
- Sitting up straight on a chair, “walk” forward to the edge of chair by lifting one hip up and moving forward, then the other hip.
- “Walk” back, alternating with one hip up and the other on the chair.
- While sitting or balanced on one leg
- Move foot around in a slow, large circle
- Repeat with other foot
These should be done before any activity to get the body ready for the task at hand.
Once the body is warmed up, it’s ready to get started, remembering to keep the tasks small at first. Other things to remember when doing any physical activity is that the blood flowing to the muscles increases during the activity while oxygen decreases. This can leave muscles sore. Also, the muscle soreness may be delayed, so you may not feel any pain until after you are finished with the task. If this happens, then you need to give your body a rest before returning to the activity. It is also important to be observant of what your body is telling you.