Gardening season is in full bloom, but all that weeding and pruning can take a toll on your body if you’re not careful. Gardening is a great way to stay active and have fun in the sun. It’s nice to enjoy the fruits of your labour but, Green Thumbs, make no mistake, gardening is hard work on the back. Many of us sustain injuries this time of year that could easily be prevented with a little know-how.
The Ontario Chiropractic Association offers the following preventative tips to make your gardening season the greenest one yet:
- Warm-up: Before tackling the yard, warm-up for 5-10 minutes to get the joints moving and increase blood circulation. Try marching on the spot, climbing stairs or a quick walk around your property. Follow this with gentle stretches for your back, arms, shoulders and legs. Never bounce jerk or strain when stretching. A warm-up ensures you body is ready for action!
- Bend your knees to lift with ease: Get close to the load you will be lifting and stand with your feet shoulder width apart, head up. Keep your feet and body pointing in the same direction and keep your back straight. Avoid heavy lifting immediately after prolonged bending or kneeling.
- Alternate: Heavy. Light. Heavy. Light. That’s the right way to handle those chores.
- Check your position: And change it often. Kneel, and then stand. Don’t forget to take breaks and just sit and relax for a while.
- Rake right: Ease the strain on your back by putting one leg in front, the other behind. Switch legs and hands from time to time.
- Kneel to plant: Use kneepads or a kneeling mat to reduce the strain while you plant and weed. Keep your back straight and take frequent breaks.
- Stop gardening immediately if you feel back pain: If you have back pain that is severe, or persists for more than a day after gardening see your chiropractor or visit www.bywardchiropractic.com or www.glebechiropractic.com for more information.
Dr. Sasha Hamid is a Chiropractor at the ByWard Chiropractic Clinic and Massage Therapy Centre. Dr. Hamid has been a proud member of the WBN since 2009 and is the current Chair of the Membership Committee. She was voted 2012 National Capital Fit Day People’s Choice for Best Chiropractor. Dr. Hamid is an advocate for healthy and active living and frequently lectures within Ottawa on a variety of wellness based strategies.