Gardening tips for you to feel great while being outside.
With spring in full bloom, many of us are spending more time outdoors and getting our gardens ready for the season.
Here are some recommendations to keep you moving and feeling well:
Warm-up before you start: Before you start gardening, take a few minutes to stretch your muscles and warm up your body. Do a little cardio, stretch, and move before starting your gardening.
Use proper body mechanics while lifting: When lifting heavy bags of soil, plants, or pots, make sure to bend at the knees and use your legs to lift. Avoid twisting your body or bending from the waist. Keep the weight close to your body, and use a wheelbarrow or cart to transport heavy items.
- When shoveling: Using the right shovel for your body height will improve your body mechanics. The shovel handle should be long enough that you can hold it comfortably without bending over too much. A shovel with a curved handle can also help to reduce strain on your back. When shoveling, keep your back straight and bend at the knees. Use your leg muscles to lift the shovel, and avoid twisting or bending from the waist. Keep the shovel close to your body, and use your arms to control the movement of the shovel.
Choose the right tools: Look for garden tools with long handles, which will allow you to maintain a more upright posture while working. Use a kneeling pad or garden stool to reduce the amount of time you spend on your knees.
Maintain good posture: Keep your back straight and your shoulders relaxed. Avoid slouching or hunching over, which can cause strain on your neck and back. Avoid sitting on your heels when kneeling, which can put pressure on your knees. When bending over, use your legs to lower your body instead of bending from the waist. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart for stability and balance.
Take frequent breaks: Gardening can be a physically demanding activity, so it's important to take breaks and rest your body. Stand up, stretch, and walk around every 30 minutes or so. This will help to prevent muscle fatigue and stiffness.
Stretch after gardening: After you finish gardening, take some time to stretch again. Focus on stretching your back, hips, legs, shoulders, and arms. This will help to prevent muscle soreness and stiffness.
Here are some stretches that you can do before and after gardening:
- Hamstring stretch: Sit on the ground with your legs straight out in front of you. Reach forward and try to touch your toes. Hold for 30 seconds.
- Hip flexor stretch: Kneel on the ground with your left knee on the ground and your right foot in front of you. Lean forward until you feel a stretch in your left hip. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
- Shoulder stretch: Hold your right arm across your chest with your left hand, and gently pull your right arm towards your chest. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
- Quad stretch: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your left knee and bring your heel towards your buttocks. Hold onto your left ankle with your left hand and gently pull your heel towards your buttocks until you feel a stretch in the front of your thigh. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
- Child's pose: Kneel on the ground with your toes touching and your knees hip-width apart. Lower your body forward until your forehead touches the ground. Stretch your arms out in front of you. Hold for 30 seconds.
I hope these tips and stretches will help you enjoy your gardening this season while reducing risk of pain and injury!
As always, if you have pain with any of your outdoor activities, make sure to give us a call and get on point.