It’s that time of year again! Flowers have bloomed across the country, frosty nights are behind us and many avid gardeners are gearing up to begin planting for this season’s bounty.
Whether you will be working on a vegetable garden, a flower garden, or both, it’s important that you focus on maintaining a healthy posture so you don’t end up developing aches and pains partaking in your favorite activity.
Now you may be thinking that gardening is a gentle hobby. It’s not like huffing and puffing at the gym for an hour each day. While that may be true, it is also true that gardening requires plenty of bending, squatting, and lifting, and if you don’t watch your posture, you could be asking for trouble.
With this in mind, here are some tips to help you stay safe and pain-free this gardening season:
Before you begin doing any intense movement such as raking or digging, it’s important that you do some simple warm-ups and stretching. You could take a walk around the block, swinging your arms liberally to get the blood flowing. Once back home, gently stretch the major muscles in your arms, legs, and back.
2. Set Realistic Goals
When you only have a short window of time over the weekend to accomplish your gardening goals, it’s easy to try and do too much. It is much better for your body to set modest and realistic goals. It’s also better to pace yourself and check in with your joints and muscles to see if you are trying to do too much.
3. Avoid Bending and Reaching
Any chiropractor or physical therapist will tell you to avoid bending and reaching if you possibly can. You are far more vulnerable to injury when you bend at the waist and reach for something. Always bend at the knees rather than at your back. And get your body close to your task so you don’t have to reach. As an example, pulling weeds can really strain your back so get close to them.
4. Take Breaks
If you are planning to work for an entire afternoon, be sure to take a break every hour to stretch and drink some water.
5. Ask for Help
If you have a big item to move or bags and bags of heavy mulch or potting soil, ask a friend or neighbor for some help. For many people, gardening is an activity that brings peace, joy, and happiness. Don’t ruin those positive feelings by getting hurt. Follow these tips to have a safe and pain-free gardening season. And if you are already dealing with back or neck pain and would like a free chiropractic consultation, give us a call or stop by our office.