Spring has sprung and if you haven't gotten outside lately, you are missing out! The weather has been picture perfect here in sunny Florida which makes gardening a delight. Let's keep it that way but learning how to protect your posture while you garden. When focused on a task such as gardening it is easy to forget about your posture until its too late. But, if you are proactive with your approach you may actually be more productive in the end.
Warm up Your Body
Gardening earlier in the day is better for your spine because your discs are the most hydrated. But it doesn't mean you should pop out of bed and tend to the garden. You should give yourself at least 30 minutes warm up of walking around, gentle stretching, and getting your muscles warmed up before putting in long hours in the garden.
Try to take short breaks every 10 minutes to switch positions. The most problematic thing about gardening is the repetitive and sustained movements. The more you can switch it up, the better your back will feel. Try alternating between tasks that allow you to kneel on the left knee, kneel on the right knee, squat, and stand. Investing in a knee pads or mat will come in handy if you have a green thumb.
Proper Lifting Technique
Lifting mechanics are key when it comes to shoveling. Whether its in the garden or at the beach, make sure you are keeping the back straight and lowering you body by flexing your hips and knees. Without rounding your back, press up through your legs and gluteal muscles as you slowly pick up dirt. Shovel the dirt using a strong sturdy posture and avoid dumping out to the side. Always dump the dirt in front of you to avoid unnecessary lifting and twisting.
Stay Hydrated and Well Nourished
Make sure you are drinking water before, during, and after working in the garden. Also eat a well balanced meal prior to starting to avoid low blood sugar and feeling lightheaded. Additionally, if you are doing it right, you will likely feel sore the next day. Reward your muscles for such a productive day. Epsom salt bath works well as well as a Magnesium topical gel, Biofreeze, or Arnica gel.
Remember to listen to your body, don't over do it on the first day, and see a chiropractor when things feel "off", "out of whack", or "crooked!"
From the desk of Dr. Lisette Miller Kondrad. Dr. Miller is a licensed Chiropractic Physician and Board Certified Acupuncture Provider who has been in clinical practice for 7 years. She has helped hundreds of patients via Chiropractic care and Acupuncture. Click here to contact Clark Road Chiropractic Center with any questions or to schedule your appointment!