Spring is here, and we’re now into British Summer Time. Hopefully we’re in for lots of sunshine.
The weather over the weekend was perfect, and I bet many of you will have taken the chance to do some gardening. Did you feel sore afterwards?
Well that’s not unusual. Whenever we do anything physical that we haven't done for a long time our muscles get sore. That soreness comes from the muscles being slightly damaged by whatever activity we did, because the muscles weren't used to doing it. Painting the garden fence, heavy pruning of trees and shrubs, digging the borders: all things that we haven't done much of over winter. So the effort is often more than our muscles can cope with. The good news is that the more we use our muscles the fitter they get, the stronger they get, and as a result they can cope with more effort.
A little bit of soreness for a day or two after is to be expected, and will ease off by itself. However, if you have pain or stiff muscles then you could well have muscle knots and spasms; these will benefit from remedial massage to release them, otherwise they might stay with you for a long time.
As with any physical activity, warming up the muscles beforehand will help to stop soreness afterwards. Warm them up by doing something slow and gentle for a few minutes, or rub them with your hands until they feel warm - even use a hot pad or water bottle! After you’ve been working for 20 or 30 minutes, stop and gently stretch the muscles. If you've been using your arms, stop and wave them around, rotate your shoulders and then open and close your hands. If your legs feel tired, shake them a bit if you can, then rotate your ankles and wiggle your toes: this eases the muscles and gets the circulation pumping.
When you’ve finished of course you have a perfect excuse for sitting in your favourite garden chair, relaxing with a drink and enjoying the feeling of having achieved so much.