Heavy gardening is no different to participating in tennis, athletics or other sport - it's important to prepare for the event!
The gardening season is now in full flow, albeit a little later than usual. However, spring and summer brings many people into my chiropractic clinic as a result of rather over zealous gardening. The key thing to remember is that gardening is equivalent to participating in conventional sports like tennis, swimming or athletics - as with any sporting activity it is important to prepare yourself for the event,
No 1. Warm up with light movement or a brisk walk, this will loosen your muscles and increase flexibility
No 2. Know your strengths and limitations. Do not over exert, vary your gardening activities and take regular breaks, grab a glass of water to stop dehydration
No 3. Avoid bending over repeatedly whilst standing upright. Get down close and personal to those weeds. Try kneeling with a pad, or sitting or the ground. Repeated bending and twisting at the waist is not a movement that your low back will like.
No 4. Carry objects like soil, plant and tubs close to your body. Try to avoid the 'lazy man's load', carrying small manageable loads is better for your back, even if it means more trips!
No 5. Long handled tools give you additional leverage when you are raking,digging, pushing or mowing. Remember to switch hands when doing prolonged raking, hoeing or digging actions.
No 6. Rotate your tasks, be a butterfly. Mix some digging with pruning, dead heading, weeding, hedge trimming etc Your body will thank you for not spending the day digging?
No 7. Don't forget the sunscreen, the weather this year has been so bad it tempting to want to 'make the most of it' but look after your skin as well as those muscles and joints.
Lastly, and by no means least, make sure that you have time to sit and enjoy your hard work. When people come in for the chiropractic care they often bemoan the fact that they toil in the garden and never get to sit down with a cuppa!
.... Some general low grade aches and pains are pretty normal but if you have pain that lasts persisitently for more than three days it may be worth coming along for some chiropractic care and a little bit of straightening up.
Hi Jooles. Great advice, as ever; thank you. The soil on my allotment is heavy clay and I've spent many-a-day regretting the digging I did the day before.Guest17th June 2013
The 'little and often' approach makes total sense and it's great to be reminded of it - even though, deep down, we all know it's what we should be doing. Too often the green/brown mist descends and we lose sight of what's really important.