Spring back into life in Spring!
As the weather warms up in Adelaide, many of the avid gardeners amongst us have ventured into the garden for some ‘light’ horticultural work.
Whilst planting bulbs, mowing the lawn and pulling up weeds can provide a great workout, with all the bending, twisting, reaching and pulling, your body may not yet be ready for exercise of the garden variety.
Gardening can be enjoyable, but it is important to prepare your body before reaching for your gardening tools. A thorough warm-up and cool-down period is as important in gardening as it is for any other physical activity.
Unfortunately at this time of year, we see an increase in crisis visits to our office after marathon efforts in the yard. Planning ahead and following some of the simple tips below may help to minimise injuries, pain and stiffness after a session in the garden.
Safe Gardening Tips
· Warm up with some simple stretches, concentrating on the back, upper legs, shoulders and wrists. Avoid jerking movements. Stretching gently lengthens your muscles and should not be painful. Your chiropractor can advise you on which stretches are appropriate for you.
· Avoid tackling the more strenuous tasks straight away. Loosen yourself up first with the lighter activities on your ‘to-do’ list before building up to the heavier ones involving digging and lifting.
· If you are kneeling, use a soft cushion to protect your knees and don't hold this position for too long. Keep changing your posture - our bodies are designed to move!
· Be careful not to over-stretch your arms - keep movements close and compact. If you cannot comfortably reach, consider investing in long handled instruments like shears.
· When lifting, keep the load close to the body and bend at the knees. Also, refrain from twisting the torso without moving your pelvis - turn your whole body.
· Take regular breaks - every 30 minutes and have a gentle stretch. Give yourself time. Gardening doesn't have to be rushed!
· If buying and transporting supplies, protect your back by reducing the load placed on it. If possible, buy smaller, more manageable bags of compost/soil rather than one large heavy bag.
Rule of thumb: If you are wondering if something is too heavy to lift by yourself, it probably is!Don't be proud - use a trolley or ask for a hand when lifting!
· Water your plants, water yourself! We all know how important water is to yield the best results in our gardens, yet we often neglect to consume enough water ourselves. Check out our previous Health News article ‘Water…the ORIGINAL cool drink’ for more benefits!
Remember, gardening involves many activities you may not have performed throughout the colder months and can therefore come as quite an unexpected workout. So dress sensibly, warm up and cool down, take regular breaks and plan ahead to enjoy comfortable and safe gardening this season.
“Never move so fast that you cannot stop and smell the roses and never stand still so long that you can get stung on the rear by a bee!”
~ Anonymous ~