Many of our Chirobalance members love gardening in their sparetime. Whether it is for growing veges or having beautiful flowers it can be very thereapeutic. However planting seeds, adding compost and pulling weeds can be very much like a gym workout and lead to injury and back pain.
Check out these handy tips below to avoid injury next time you are in the garden:
1. Kneel instead of bending
Some gardeners develop a habit of bending while weeding or planting. Chiropractors discourage people from bending or twisting their backs in the garden. Instead, you may want to kneel to pull out those annoying weeds or spread mulch around flowers. Consider using special stools or pads for the knees to
make this process easier.
Photo credit: http://thebicycledays.co/garden-kneeling-pad
If you are transporting heavy pots or planters, use a wheelbarrow. When you are lifting to put them in the
wheelbarrow, make sure to get the power from your legs instead of your back and never twist while
holding heavy objects.
3. Warm up and stretch
As with any form of exercise, stretching must be done before and after the activity. Perhaps take a short brisk walk first to warm up your muscles and get your body in work mode. Stretching should target your back and core, shoulders and arms, and leg muscles. If you are unsure on how to stretch be sure to ask your chiropractor to show you at your next visit.
4. Take posture breaks
It is easy to spend hours in the garden and lose track of time. However, chiropractors want people to take frequent breaks, so their joints and muscles can rest. Many gardeners complain about stiffness, pain and aches, but these problems can be prevented. Remember to take several breaks and avoid overdoing it. May be a good idea to set an alarm on your phone to remind you.
5. Minimise Repetitive Motions
Don’t try to get everything done in one session. Alternating tasks is a good way to break up the repetitive motions.
Make sure you keep the shovel in front of you and avoid twisting motions. If you need to get to an area on the side, re-position yourself to keep the shovel in line with your body. The same goes for raking – pull the rake towards your body, not off to the sides.
7. Stay hydrated
Bring a water bottle to the garden with you to stay hydrated-especially on warmer days. Water helps your joints stay lubricated.
If you find that you are still feeling sore or stiff it may be a good idea to get regularly checked by
your chiropractor. Often times, it doesn’t matter how much you warm up and stretch if there is an
underlying imbalance in your spine, you will eventually feel the effects of it.