Staying static in one position for prolonged periods is a killer. Think about hours spent kneeling, bent over planting or weeding. Those poor knees and back.
Here is the fix:
Changing your position and the level you are working at frequently will ease overuse pains and allow you to garden longer.
Do These Three Things:
- Try switching it up. Alternate from kneeling to standing.
- Bend from the hips and knees
- Avoid over-reaching and make sure you lift or carry heavier loads close to your body
So, you’ve spent a lot of money on some fancy gardening tools, right? (Have you been to Lee Valley lately?) What are your favourite gardening tool(s)? Lawnmower, Rake, Hoe, Mulcher, Shears, Sythe, Cucumber straightener (better look that one up).
Let us know in the comments what your favourite tool or tools are.
The theory is that tools are designed to make our lives easier. PRO TIP: Use your garden tools properly. 🙄
Sounds silly but just being a bit more mindful of how you use your tools will reap huge rewards in the pain and injury prevention department. Oh ya, and don’t forget, gardening is way more enjoyable with cool tools!
Do This: Avoid overextending. Use the tools close to your body, making sure to bend at the hips and knees and not at the waist. Also, switch up which side you doing things on. If you are raking, switch which side you are raking on every few minutes. Same idea when you are shovelling dirt. Watch repetitive movements like always twisting or bending to one side.
We’re not talking about clothing-optional gardening practices here (there are some things you just can’t un-see).
Periodic stretching of your low back and shoulders throughout your gardening session, but especially after you finish for the day will save you tons of money in our clinic.
Do This and let us know what reaction you get from your neighbor 😛
Right there on your front lawn, do some of these easy stretches. (Dare ya, Double Dog Dare Ya)
These are both excellent ways to release those tired, achy muscles. PRO TIP: Cat/Cow are meant to be slow, gentle movements that take your back through its normal range of motion. Don’t force the end ranges.
- Start on your hands and knees with your back flat and your chin tucked so your neck is neutral
- Drop your stomach towards the floor while you extend your neck and look up to the ceiling. Don’t force the end-range! Just go to where you feel a gentle stretch and hold it there for two to three seconds
- Reverse the position by rounding your back towards the ceiling and dropping your head towards the floor. Hold that position for two to three seconds.
- Cycle through steps two and three for a total of ten repetitions, being mindful to breathe and relax into the end-ranges
- Think about whether your spirit animal may be either a cat or a cow 😛
Gardening typically involves a lot of bending forward so let’s offset that with some gentle back extension movement. Try a sphynx pose or a cobra movement.
- Begin by lying flat. on your stomach
- Come up on your elbows like you are going to read a book Be mindful that there is no pinching pain or discomfort in your low back! It is OK to feel stiffness but no pain
- Hold that position for two to three minutes
- Think about whether your spirit animal might have morphed into a sphynx? 😎
Spoiler alert: Did you happen to notice the cool, Yeti lumberjack socks? Not your average Lulu Lemon gear eh? 🙄
Important for any outdoor summer activity is adequate hydration. Drink plenty of water, wear a head covering, sunglasses and sunscreen.
Be sure to hold each stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds…a minute is always better. This allows time for the muscle fibres to disengage from each other and the stretch to be more effective. Working muscles get tight and sore. Injuries happen when those tight muscles have to move quickly so make slow, controlled and gentle movements. Breath into the stretch and you’ll soon feel that nice release of tension.
It can’t be all about the work. Take time throughout your day to gaze around your gardens and purely enjoy what you have created. Gardening works our body and we’re outside in nature, which gives us lots of physical benefits. But wait, there’s more! Being outside in nature gives us spiritual and emotional benefits.
What more could you ask for from an activity? Health habits that benefit the mind, body and spirit will keep us all gardening and make our time spent outside in the fresh air and the dirt priceless!
Now, back to work you go…or maybe kick back with a beverage and enjoy your beautiful yard and garden!
Time for some shameless, self-promotion. Contact me to book in for a massage to keep those muscles relaxed and ready to get back out in the garden. I’ll make a deal with you…I’ll work on your muscles to get them ready and we can share some gardening stories and secret green thumb tips and tricks.
Happy Gardening! Now go dig in the dirt!!! 😀