Working Outside During Warmer Days Means Using Different Muscles
Updated: Mar 16
With the weather warming up and places like Ithaca, Groton, Lansing, and Locke, NY slowly returning to normal, we noticed more of our Finger Lakes family and friends getting active. Gardening and lawn work happen to be some of our favorite summer activities. However, if we’re not careful, working outside can find us in back to back visits to physical therapy offices in Ithaca and Freeville.
We want to make the transition from spending most of our days working inside in front of a computer screen, to spending long hours working with our hands outdoors easy and pain-free. Today we’re covering the most common issues that can arise while working during the summer and our tips for how you can avoid them.
Depending on the activity we are performing, our bodies will activate different muscle groups. When we work from home, we tend to be stationary for longer periods. Gardening requires us to use a wide range of muscle groups that probably haven’t gotten a lot of use lately, like our core and leg muscles.
You can avoid aches and pains by completing a round of full body stretches before beginning and including several breaks throughout the day. If you do end up hurting yourself, you can always come to us. We’re one of the few clinics that specialize in back pain treatment in Ithaca.
There’s a common misconception that joint pain only spikes in the cold months. While cold weather can constrict our muscles and joints and cause pain, we should also keep an eye out for joint pain in the summer, too. Warmer temperatures tend to make our tendons, joints, and muscles expand, which is often linked to an increase in factors like swelling, inflammation, and pain, especially after a long day of yard work.
Researchers find that there’s a link between joint pain and humidity. The changing air pressure encourages fluid to build up in our joints, or raise the joint pain. Over time, it can cause us to feel stiffer and more rigid. Chronic conditions like arthritis can also flare-up as our bodies adjust to several complex movements that are necessary for completing outdoor chores, along with hot temperatures.
If you’re susceptible to joint pain, this may be the perfect time to switch up your routine. Some of our clients find that swimming can ease joint and back pain, and is an excellent way to cool off in the summer. Small swaps in your diet that encourage you to eat less sugar, salt, preservatives, and dairy, can also help you stay pain-free.
Our muscles tend to need more water, so we can push through and complete all our tasks. Dehydration can be hard to detect in the summer. Cramps and spasms are typically a sign we aren’t drinking enough water. Anytime you are about to dive into an outdoor activity, have a refillable water bottle handy, so whether you’re raking, lifting, or planting, you’ll always stay hydrated.
Get the most of Your Summer
Don’t let back pain trap you in the house when you could be out enjoying the warm weather with your friends and family! If you’re planning to do some work outside the house, make sure you keep a few of our tips in mind. Even when we’re careful, accidents can still happen, which is why our physicians are always here when you need pain relief in Ithaca, Freeville and Dryden, NY.