Give your body a spring break!

KNOXVILLE (WVLT) No matter how well you kept up your workouts during the winter months, your body still isn't ready for many outdoor spring activities.

Most of us haven't touched our lawns since last year, let alone hit the walking trail.

So before you embark on the mowing, weeding, planting and watering, we're covering East Tennessee health, with how to give your body a spring break.

Yard work helps you build strength, dexterity and flexibility, not to mention burn calories.

Gardening can be a workout in itself, and just like regular exercise, if you don't do it properly you can hurt yourself.

"The biggest thing is we bend forward so much in these tasks, we're pulling weeds, we're lifting things. If we can avoid doing much of that bending over repetitively, that will be good on our back, mid-back, as well as our neck and shoulders."

Spine Knoxville physical therapist Graeme Keys says warm up your muscles for five to ten minutes before you garden.


And garden using a variety of motions at a steady pace.

Plan out your gardening session to include a variety of movements, such as raking, mowing, weeding and digging, and alternate between them often, about every 15 minutes.

"All these joints we have, they've all been hibernating for the winter. Now, we're bringing them out and we're asking all these things from them, so the best thing again is, take a break, put something underneath your knee and perhaps squat on one knee and have the other knee up an switch."

And, if you're planning to take advantage of this weekend's weather to take your workout, outside, don't overdo it.

If you're gardening or exercising in the sunlight, wear a hat, cover your neck, apply sunscreen and reapply often.

And if you live in an area with a lot of insects, plan your activities during the early morning or late evening hours, and use insect repellent.

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