Looking After Your Back During Gardening Season
Digging, bending, reaching and twisting are all parts of every keen gardener ‘work out’ when it gets to this time of year. However as great as it is to be active in the garden there are correct ways to do it.
In this article I am going to touch on a few suggestions that may well help you just be more mindful when moving in the garden. Hopefully this will result in less lower back pain and other gardening related injuries.
I’ve put together a few helpful tips for you to start implementing right away. Starting with the first Golden Rule!
TOP TIP ONE
Bend At The Knee
We all know it, but do we do it? Sometimes I hear you say? Now and again? It’s the one movement that could save your back now and in the future. Yes, it’s easier said than done when it comes to getting into new habits but this one will really help prevent strain on your back.
Especially if you are lifting and moving heavy objects bending at the knee is imperative for a healthy back. Once your knees are bent, take hold of your load firmly but comfortably; don’t strain your wrists either at this point. Then use your legs to push upwards to return to a standing position.
If you need to place the load down to the side of you DO NOT TWIST, move your feet to the appropriate position to save strain on the lower back and shoulders.
TOP TIP TWO
Warm Up and Stretch
Yes, we know it’s not marathon training or the world’s strongest man contest; however physical labour in the garden can be intense and quite often make you use muscles that do not often get a work out. This is why pulling, over stretching and seizing up can be an issue.
The way to combat this is warming up your muscles and stretching before starting any physical labour. The best way to do this is to get the blood flowing to those muscles and wake them up!
Here’s a couple of things you can try before you venture out into the jungle so to speak.
A couple of minutes of light aerobic exercise such as marching on the spot or going up and down the stairs a few times will get the blood pumping and wake up those dormant muscles. Then you can move on to some stretches to really loosen everything up.
Squatting, hamstring stretches, shoulder circles and neck rotations are all good stretches to do just for a couple of minutes each before making your garden fit for the Chelsea Flower Show.
TOP TIP THREE
Not only does digging really take it out of your shoulders but the strain on your hips and lower back can be quite intense too. When digging get as close as you can safely to the spade and avoid twisting at the hips.
TOP TIP FOUR
Know Your Strength
It’s easy to be over ambitious and think you can lift heavy garden waste on your own, or move logs, bricks or heavy plants easily and quickly. However; forcing your body to do this can result in serious injury. Do not try to carry everything at once, pace yourself, take things slowly or get the family involved for a fun day in the garden. That age old saying of many hands make light work could not be truer here so sharing the load can mean a healthier back and a happier pain free summer.
TOP TIP FIVE
Dealing With The Niggles
Your body can give you warning signs that you are doing too much. Those niggling pains, tightness in your muscles and uncomfortable reaches can all be signs that either you are doing too much or not helping your body recover after physical activity.
Did you know massage can help the muscles recover quicker by breaking down any adhesions, knots and tension? Did you know that loosening muscles and gentle stretching of them means that certain physical activity’s might not feel as strenuous on your body?
Why not book yourself in today for a massage to help ease those aches and pains and also get some advice on what else you can do to encourage a healthy back now and in the future.
I hope you have found these tips helpful and interesting and I would love to hear your feedback on how you have got on in the garden!