Most people haven't done very much activity during the winter (unless you call watching Dancing withe the Stars activity).
We've gained weight, exercised less and generally taken poor care of our backs. Then, the weather gets nice and we decide that all that work in the yard has to get done in a day!
Guess what? Your back can't take it. This is the classic case of overuse. What we were capable of doing last fall when we were in better shape cannot be accomplished now without building back up to it.
So, some words of wisdom:
- Start easy the first day or two. Spend short periods of time and gradually work up to longer periods of time each day.
- Start with limiting the amount of time you stay bent over, as well as limiting the number of times you repetitively bend over
- Lift light loads the first few days and find someone to help you lift the heavier stuff (lawn mowers...etc)
- Make sure your body is warmed up before the activity, especially if it's cool and wet out. Dress in layers and as you get warmer shed layers. Do some easy cardio in the house before heading out. 5 mins of cardio (jumping rope, aerobics...etc) will build the internal heat in your muscles which makes them more flexible and less likely to strain with yardwork. Some easy back stretching after the cardio is even better.
- Avoid early morning yardwork. We are generally stiffer in the morning (especially as we get older) and it's generally colder in the morning which makes us even less flexible.
- The best thing that you can do is hire a neighborhood kid (if you can find one who wants to work anymore) and let him do the strenuous stuff as you boss him around with your coffee in hand