Spring is Here! Are You Ready?

written by Lisa Valko, OTR/L, ITOT, CKTP

Getting Ready for Spring Clean Up
It doesn’t matter if Phil sees his shadow, spring inevitably arrives before we know it. This means that we will be going from sitting and watching TV and doing light household tasks to being outside bending, lifting, raking, digging, and planting. Are you ready?

Do you normally end up with sore arms, tingling hands, and a stiff back after a day or so outside? You are not alone. Let me help you reduce those aches and pains with a few short tips and stretches to prepare you for the upcoming weeks.

Around the House
Prior to jumping right into outdoor clean up, increasing your activities in the home can allow your body to gain strength and conditioning, reducing soreness and overuse injuries. Adding some additional activities that require you to reach above your head (if able to do so safely) and to bend through the middle (safely) prior to heading outdoors to clean up sticks and debris will prepare your muscles and joints for what is to come in the next few weeks.

Simple Stretches
The stretches recommended can be done at any time. These stretches are simple and focus on the shoulder, forearm, and hand muscles. Stretching before, during, and after your activities will help reduce the occurrence of muscle soreness and fatigue. Gentle bending at the hips forward, back, and side to side can assist in warming up the mid-section and back muscles prior to digging, weeding, and bending repeatedly during our spring clean up activities.

Always remember that you should not feel pain with a gentle stretching exercise as illustrated. Taking rest breaks to stretch and hydrate is advised as you begin outdoor activities, especially as the temperatures rise.

Never complete any exercise that you have been recommended to avoid by another medical professional. You should always consult your medical physician prior to starting any new exercise program or activity that elevates your heart rate. n

To schedule an Occupational Therapy appointment with Lisa Valko, please call 814-467-3189.