It’s fall, and as the leaves turn colour, that usually means it’s time for raking lawns and turning the soil in our gardens to prepare for the colder months ahead.
Gardening is a great outdoor activity that many enjoy in spring, summer, and fall. But, like any other place, the garden is also a place where injury can occur. Here are some tips to help you keep your back in check and your garden bloom.
1. Warm up before you start: Before you start, warm up your muscles with a brisk 10-minute walk around the block, or even on the spot. Swing your arm and lift your knees to enhance the benefit. Warm-ups can improve muscle dynamics to reduce injury and help prepare the body for the stresses of exercise.
2. Stretch: Follow your warm with these easy stretches. Repeat each stretch five times on each side and hold for 15 seconds. Relax and do not overextend yourself while stretching. Remember to take frequent stretch breaks while working on your yard.
Your sides: Extend your right arm over your head, then bend towards the left from the waist.
Your wrists: (1) Hold one arm out in front of you, palm down. Bend your wrist until the fingers point to the ground; use your opposite hand to hold this position. (2) Hold one arm in front of you and place your palm in the “stop” position; use your opposite hand to hold this position. (3) Place your hands in “prayer” position, and press your palms together.
Your back: In a seated position, bend forward from the hips, keeping your head down. Touch your fingers to the ground.
3. Bend your knees to lift: Before lifting, position yourself close to the object. Keep your back straight and bend your knees using your leg and arm muscles to smoothly and slowly lift the load. Keep the load close to your body and pivot—don’t twist—to turn.
4. Take frequent breaks: Rest when you’re tired and take time out for stretching to loosen tense muscles.
As with any other physical activity, be safe and enjoy! For further information on what activities are right for you, visit your local chiropractor.
References 1. Woods K, Bishop P, Jones E. Warm-up and stretching in the prevention of muscular injury. Sports Med. 2007; 37(12): 1089-99. PMID: 18027995.