As the cooler weather approaches, now is the time to get out and enjoy your garden, however there are some steps we can take to avoid aching pains and to protect our spine. As many of you know gardening involves lots of bending, lifting and kneeling down while weeding, pushing wheelbarrows or carrying heavy objects all of which place strain on the spine.
According to the Australian Chiropractic Association, 75% of DIY injuries that present to our Emergency Departments are due to gardening. This can be prevented by appropriate lifting techniques and posture while out in the garden!
Warm up and Stretch
Before you start gardening, get that body moving! Take a brisk walk followed by a few simple stretches targeting the core, back, shoulders and legs. Check out The Straighten Up Australia App by the Australian Chiropractic Association which contains a short stretching and posture program to help improve spinal health.
Consider ways that will avoid excess strain on the spine. This could be re-potting on a table or getting raised garden beds to avoid bending down for long periods of time. Use gardening tools that are the right length, if your shovel is too short you may be bending forward for long periods straining the ligaments and muscles around the spine.
It is always a good idea to swap between tasks to avoid staying in one strenuous position for too long. This could mean if you’re bending over weeding the garden bed, switch to repotting a plant on a table after 30 or so minutes to avoid straining your back and to protect your spine. Avoid twisting motions while digging or lifting. A kneeling bad is a great way to protect your knees while bending down. While lifting, ensure to lift with power from your legs not from back.
Remember to take well-earned breaks, be sun safe and stay hydrated!
Spending time in the garden doesn’t need to mean a sore back at the end of the day. By following these simple actions, you can keep gardening enjoyable!
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