Spring clean-up can be painful

I sat down in my rocker just after 5 p.m. on Sunday to watch the Duke-Baylor basketball game.
All afternoon, I had been trimming trees, raking leaves and grass, and generally trying to clean up the yard. Over the course of the afternoon, I chatted with neighbours who I haven’t spoken to since raking leaves back in the fall.
We all had reasons to be outside. The two young boys, Sean and Tray, had been out since early morning playing and running about the neighbourhood with their imaginations at full throttle.
Standing equally tall, the pair are constant companions and keep track of everything happening on the block.
Last summer, several branches seemed to catch on my shirt or sweep my hat off my head as I mowed the grass. Raking the lawn on Sunday, they again caught my hat and were the first targeted with my pruning shears.
One low hanging branch that has been forcing me to bend low over the years was next on the list.
My wife worries when I trim trees and shrubs. Her worry is that I will go too far, so I usually wait until she is away to do the trimming.
When the branches were trimmed and hauled, I went back to raking. The people who walk their dogs in the neighbourhood seem meticulous in picking up the droppings. However, there is at least one beautiful dog that has free roam of the area—and has clearly marked out my yard.
I like dogs, and appreciate their desire to run and explore. I just don’t like having to clean up behind them.
Still, it was a well-spent Sunday afternoon and half the yard is now cleaned up. My face also is a little sun-burnt.
It wasn’t until I went to get up from that chair to get cleaned up to go out for supper that a sharp pain announced itself from my lower back. I limped slowly to the shower—each left step sending a shooting pain.
Every spring and fall, we receive stories through the wire service telling us the importance of warming up and cooling down from strenuous exercise. When I swam or was running, there always was preparation by stretching my thigh and calf muscles, my arms, and my back, and then I went through a cool-down period.
But for yard work, I have never gave even the slightest thought to warming up.
Raking leaves, cutting branches, and bending over have never seen to me as strenuous exercise. And the pace that I worked at would never have been called strenuous. Only my glucometer showed I had used much more energy than usual.
But I didn’t do that stretch, and that recommended walk around the block didn’t happen. And the muscles did tighten up.
The pain persisted through the evening, although walking a bit and helping out seemed to loosen the muscles.
I thought the pain might disappear overnight, and the rest did help a little. So by Monday I was wondering whether I should go out again that evening and tackle the balance of the lawn with renewed vigour to work those kinks out and get that stretching back in?
Or should I rest an extra evening and just go for my normal walk?

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