4 Tips to Keep in Mind While Gardening01/03/2017
Gardening can be an enjoyable and relaxing past time. There are many benefits to gardening, benefits such as getting a breath of fresh air, adding homegrown fruits and veggies to future meals, and destressing and unwinding. Even though gardening is a low-intensity past time, there are many injuries that can happen to us while we’re out digging up weeds. Gardening uses our muscles in ways they typically are not used to. We want to help you prepare yourself properly to avoid any injuries that may occur. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
#1 Warm-Up and Stretch
Like any physical activity, we have to stretch before gardening to prevent our muscles from cramping up while we work. We can also do a mild warm up to get our prepared for gardening. Warming up consists of a couple of cardiovascular exercises to get our heart rate up, increase circulation and increase our body temperature. Try doing a couple of laps around the house to get going – no need to jog, as a brisk walk will do. You could also do some chores or take the dog for a walk.
Stretching will help as well, as it’s is designed to prepare our muscles for activity. Gardening sometimes means that you’ll be in the same position for a long period of time, so stretching our arms, legs, and back are important.
#2 Take a Break
We do love to be in our garden from sun up to sun down, but that is not always the smartest way to go. With the sun beating down on us, we can easily become overworked. We must make sure to take frequent breaks out of the sun and give our bodies time to rest and recuperate. Even if you don’t think you’re tired, force yourself to take a break anyways! Your body will thank you for it.
#3 Bend, Don’t Reach
Most back issues develop from reaching and bending improperly through the spine. Even though gardening is not a sport, we are using muscles that we do not use often. Most of us want to bend at the waist while standing when we go to pull weeds out of the garden; however, we encourage you to kneel, squat or use a short stool to sit to remove those stubborn weeds. Using the proper gardening tools will also help you reduce any unnecessary back strain. But, if you must bend, then bend at the knees and don’t pull with your back. Instead, put those leg and arm muscles to good use!
#4 Hydrate and Cover-up
Make sure that plenty of water is handy while you’re outside. We don’t want anyone getting overheated and dehydrated. Signs of dehydration include feeling thirsty, having a dry mouth, or experiencing headaches or dizziness. If you start to experience these symptoms, grab a glass of water and take a break immediately!
Also, while you’re outdoors, make sure that you are properly covered. The sun, even when it’s only peeping from time to time through the clouds, can have damaging effects on the skin if it’s not properly protected. To stay protected, you can wear a hat, sunglasses, apply sunscreen, wear long sleeve shirts and pants, or simply stay under a shaded area. Not wearing the proper protective gear in daylight can cause sunburn, blister the skin, or lead to certain types of skin cancer over time.
If you plan on spending time in the garden this year, make sure you’re prepared to do so! Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be sure to have a beautiful garden without the cost of pain!
And, if you know you have some gardening sessions coming-up, make sure to get checked and adjusted so that your body is ready for the different movement patterns that are ahead. When you do get adjusted, it helps your body and nervous system adapt better to the different stresses involved with working in the garden. A primary function of the nervous system is to adapt to our environment and to all the stimuli that we throw at ourselves! Call Rai Chiropractic at 604-371-4320 to schedule your consultation.