Gardening an extreme sport? Be body aware as you dig
While gardening may not be an extreme sport, as the sun warms the earth and coaxes the season's first flowers, horticulturists of all ages need to be body aware.
Get those muscles ready by warming up first - maybe with a good walk around the neighbourhood - before starting to dig and hoe and move the manure around. That will reduce the chance of painful aches and pains that come from activating muscles that haven't been used ove the winter.
And don't forget to change position and what you're doing so that one group of muscles doesn't get overworked during your first days out. Stretching will make a difference, too, before, during and after your time in the garden.
Gardening after a winter break needs a similar kind of preparation to that of an elite athlete going into a final, experts have warned.
With the spring weather likely to prompt the green-fingered into action, the British College of Osteopathic Medicine said warming up was key.
It recommended stretching before starting, and taking regular breaks.
Some injuries are more common than others. Watch for lower back pain and joint damage. Recovery can take a long time, particularly if your activity causes a repetitive strain.
The BCOM said its clinics tended to experience a surge in gardening-related injuries, strains and sprains during the spring months.
The most common problems are lower back pain and ligament or joint strains, and it can take up to two weeks to recover.
British College of Osteopathic Medicine head, Dr. Ian Drysdale, warns to take it easy those first few days, especially if you're a weekend gardener.
"People forget themselves and go in all gung-ho after the relative hibernation of the winter months, forgetting that their bodies need, like the gardens, to be coaxed in gently and limbered up over a period of time."
So to all gardeners, be you in that veteran elite class or the enthusiatic newbie, this gentle sport can still lay you low if you don't take care and pay attention to the signals your body sends you. Now, ready, set, garden!