In most areas of the country changing seasons bring on different stresses because of changes in the climate and related activities that lend themselves to the season. It is not uncommon for people to end up in our office with new complaints or exacerbation of old complaints associated with these changes in activities.
Often what I see is that people jump into activities they don’t do on a regular basis and that creates stress and strain on the body that they have difficulty adapting to. There is a reason that athletes have a preseason. This is the opportunity for them to gradually ease into the activities and stresses their sport puts on their bodies after taking a break during the off season. Do you have a preseason for your gardening? Probably not, but there are things you can do.
Here’s the thing, there is no secret here. Sometimes things happen, despite your best efforts, but you can do a lot to keep yourself healthy, strong and limber so that when you encounter new activities you are as prepared as possible and hopefully avoid injury.
First, stay active all year long and try to engage in different activities that challenge the body and keep the different parts of the body strong. Especially focus on core strength and stability. Everything starts with a strong, stable core. Many injuries occur because people are sedentary, the core gets weak, and then they try to do things that the body is not physically prepared for.
Next, work at maintaining your flexibility. The adage of use it or lose it definitely applies here. As we age our connective tissue changes and becomes less elastic. The key to maintaining flexibility is to work at it so that as we age and these tissues change, they are changing in accordance with the stresses we place on them. Bone and connective tissue are always changing based on the stresses we place on them. That is why it’s important to engage in health stresses like exercise and stretching.
Of course, it’s important to do all the other things we should do to stay healthy like proper rest, manage stress, eat healthy foods, drink plenty of water and of course get adjusted. Adjustments help to maintain flexibility and remove stress from the nervous system which controls and coordinates everything in the body.
Finally, ease into new activities and use good mechanics. You can do everything else right but if you use poor mechanics and don’t warm yourself up there is a strong possibility you will hurt yourself. Plan so that your body will serve you well in whichever activities you choose to engage in.