Here in Newmarket, the gardening season can be relatively short so you have to get as much done as you can during that short season. However, one thing’s the same the world over and that’s the fact that gardening can often be quite strenuous on the body, especially the back. So if you have a green thumb and would like to make it through a pain-free summer of gardening these are a few tips that could make the activity more pleasing to the body.
Warm-up for Gardening
It may be a lot of fun and quite satisfying to plant a garden, but there’s usually a lot of hard work involved too. This is because gardening typically consists of a lot of lifting, twisting, and bending. In fact, some people compare it to a sporting activity or exercise program and they prepare for a gardening session by stretching their muscles. It makes a lot of sense when you think about it since most people wouldn’t participate in a sport without going through a helpful warm-up session.
Before you start gardening you may want to consider doing these exercises by holding each of the stretches for 10 seconds and performing them three times apiece.
1-Bend your body forward as if you are attempting to touch your toes. You don’t have to actually touch the toes since the goal is to feel the stretch in your lower back and the back of the legs.
2-Clasp your hands together and raise them over your head. Lean to the left side until you can feel the stretch in the side of your torso. Then do the same stretch by leaning to the right side.
3-Put your hands on your hips and lean backward until you can feel your lower back stretch.
Protecting your Back
Since there’s a lot of planting and weeding involved in gardening it’s important to protect your spine. These movements can take a toll on your back so the idea is to be able to perform them by putting less strain on it. One of the most effective ways of protecting your back is to make sure you don’t bend and twist your spine at the same time. In addition, you should sit on a stool or chair whenever possible during gardening since it will ease the stress on your back and knees. If you find yourself bending over for lengthy periods it’s recommended that you take regular breaks and perform a few back bends before resuming. Also you can reduce neck stress by tucking in your chin while gardening.
Lift with your Legs
Most people learn at an early age that they should use their legs when lifting, not their back. The same reasoning goes when you’re carrying things and digging. If you lift, carry and dig with your legs and core muscles then your back will thank you for it. Lower back problems are one of the most common reasons for visiting a doctor or therapist. Therefore it’s definitely worth taking the time and effort to learn how to lift properly. But before you lift an object, you should know how much it weighs and if you require a helping hand. You should also know exactly where you’re going to put it down.
When you lift the object you should bend your hips and knees as much as possible so you don’t have to bend your lower back too much. When you have a grasp of the item you should stand up with your legs, keep your back as straight as possible and hold the object close to your body. Remember, never bend and twist your back simultaneously as these movements often lead to an injury when they’re combined.
Have questions about pain you are feeling while gardening? If you live in Newmarket or the surrounding York Region, we offer a free wellness consultation and can answer any questions you may have.