woman stretching to prevent injuries before working in the garden
Photo: Reggie Casagrande/Taxi/Getty
Are you a weekend warrior in your garden? Unless you're super fit, start slow and build up gradually, says Alexis Chiang Colvin, MD, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital, in New York City. "It's easy to throw your back out." These moves will help prevent muscle and joint pain.

Get loose. Walk around for a few minutes, then warm up the big muscles in your upper back, arms, and knees with these stretches (repeat series two or three times):

1. Lace fingers together and extend arms in front of you. Raise arms up and reach for ceiling. Hold for 3 seconds, feeling stretch across upper back; release. Lace fingers behind you and press back, pushing chest forward. Hold for 3 seconds.

2. While standing, bend right knee and bring right heel up toward butt; use right hand to hold heel there for 5 seconds. Switch legs and repeat on other side.
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