Now that spring is well and truly on the way, many of us will be outside in the garden in an attempt to getting things tidy and freshened up for the summer months. There are lots of jobs to do this time of year but don’t be too gung-ho or you could end up doing yourself a mischief!
Typical Gardening Aches and Pains The most common gardening related complaints are back pain or pain in the knees or hands. This is no surprise given the repetitive tasks, sustained bending, frequent lifting and awkward positioning that is involved in this popular hobby. This doesn’t mean that you have to give up on the pleasures of watching your garden bloom this summer as long as you...
Lift Heavy Items Safely A common cause of low back pain while gardening is poor lifting technique. Whether you’re lugging new plants in from your car or carrying bags of fertilizer all around the yard, your primary focus should be maintaining safe body mechanics. Here are some tips to keep your back safe while lifting outdoors:
Start with a wide base of support – Stand with your feet hips distance apart. Closer or further away makes you more unstable.
Now, squat down, bending at hips and knees, and keeping your back long – Your safest posture is to keep your spine in a neutral position. Straight back, open chest, and shoulders back and down.
Once you have established a stable base, start to lift slowly and avoid quick, jerky movements – Engage your core muscles by drawing your navel towards your spine to support your lower back.
Bring the load as close to your body as possible – Minimize
the force required to lift or carry the object.
Slowly begin to straighten your legs – Remember that your leg muscles are stronger than your back so be sure to generate force with your lower body.
Avoid twisting or turning at the waist while carrying something heavy – If you do need to change direction use your feet rather than rotating through your spine.
Make Gardening Safer by: •Easing into gardening. Gradually increase the amount of time you spend working in the garden just as you would with any sport or activity that you haven’t practiced in several months. •Take frequent breaks and change positions frequently (every 10-15 minutes). •Remember to get closeer to what you’re doing; kneel to plant and weed or if you have knee or hip pain try sitting on an upside down bucket or gardening bench. •Elevate your flower beds and containers so you can tend to them at a comfortable height. Raised garden beds reduce the amount of reaching, bending, and twisting required which can all be contributors to aches and pains.