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Any time before you do an activity – no matter how strenuous you might think it will be, stretch first!

Any time before you do an activity – no matter how strenuous you might think it will be, stretch first! Something as simple as arm circles, shoulder shrugs, toe touches, or even a walk prior to participating in physical activity will help increase blood flow to the muscles and really start to warm things up. It is also important that you’re using proper equipment when doing yard work. If you use a rake or shovel that is too tall or too short for your body, you’ll put extra strain on your back, arms, and even legs. When working, try to use short strokes and don’t lift too much at a time – when you do lift, do it properly and lift from your legs. If you’re going to complete some work that involves kneeling down for a period of time – gardening, landscaping, etc. – get some knee pads or a cushion to kneel on so that you don’t damage or hurt your kneecaps. If you’re sore for more than 24-48 hours after yard work, consider seeing a professional to ensure there isn’t any serious damage. Remember to pace yourself, take breaks, and stay hydrated. Click to listen as Physical Therapist Dominic Turnergives some helpful tips to staying in shape and avoiding injury while working in the yard.

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