When warmer weather arrives, it can be easy to formulate a list of what needs to be done without considering your current level of fitness. Before diving into spring yard work, consider what lifting and movements will be required and whether you have done any of that recently on a regular basis.
1. Set a realistic timeline
In most areas of the country, winter can last about four months. That said, it’s important not to expect to have the yard cleaned up in four hours. It took months for your yard to get into the condition it’s in; you need to give yourself a reasonable amount of time to get it back into shape.
2. Put your ego aside
When considering the yard work that needs to be done, do not get stuck thinking, “I should be able to do that by myself.” Instead, consider that even if you are in great shape and worked out all winter, yard work will probably include some lifting and bending that you have not been doing over the winter.
3. Warm up
Yard work can be intense physical exercise. Therefore, you need to warm up and prepare your body just the way you would if you were going to the gym. Just like you would not walk into a gym and lift a heavy weight without warming up and stretching, it is important to prepare your body for outside work. Also, if it is cold outside, it can really make a difference to keep your muscles warm while you are working.
4. Before you take on the big jobs, do a cost analysis
It is easy to assume that if you do something yourself that it is free. However, it is important to consider the complete financial picture when thinking about doing something yourself versus hiring someone to help or to do it for you. For example, if you hurt your back doing yard work you may need to take time off from work to see a doctor. Additionally, treatment such as physical therapy can be very expensive. Rarely is doing yard work yourself actually free.
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Tracy Davenport, Ph.D., is a freelance health writer and the C.E.O. of Tracy’s Smoothie Place. She serves as the expert on a weekly radio show about health and wellness and is the author of Making Life Better for a Baby with Acid Reflux and multiple articles about the cost of caregiving. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram @drinksmoothies.