The good weather is finally here, and many of us have been waiting for this time to get out there and do some serious gardening.
Just remember to take care of your back!
Here are a few gardening tips...
1. Warm Up!
After anxiously waiting all winter to get out in your garden, it may be tempting to jump right in. Do your self a favour and pause to warm up your muscles before you start the work. Like any other physical activity, preparing your body for the new movements, Many back injuries can be avoided by warming up first.
Don't forget to breathe when doing any physical activity. Also, make sure to take long, deep oxygenating breaths when you take your breaks. Oxygenated muscles are less likely to seize up and cause injury.
3. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
Drinking water is crucially important to remaining injury free, especially when you are physically active and under a hot sun. Carry a bottle of water along with your garden tools. When you take your break, have a drink of water too.
4. Listen To Your Body!
Stop when you feel tired. Be careful not to get lost in the task and ignore those niggling aches and pains until it’s too late. Pay attention to the messages your body is sending you. If you feel a twinge, take a break or change positions.
5. Vary Your Tasks!
Repetitive movements can be a killer. Switch things up a bit. Concentrating on one area or job at a time can be seriously painful. Vary your tasks to ensure that you aren’t holding the same position for too long.
6. Be Mindful Of Large Loads!
You are not a camel. No need to be a hero. You can always go back for the rest of the pile later, no need to do it all at once. Divide large loads into smaller batches that are easier to handle. If you must lift something heavy, ask for help.
7. Take Breaks!
Remember to take regular breaks. Too many people over exhaust their muscles by not taking enough breaks, which can cause pain and injury. It's wise to pace yourself instead of powering through to get the job done. Set a timer and take a break every 20 minutes or so. Stand up, stretch and walk around a bit rather than staying in the same position for extended periods of time. Your back will thank you later.
The bottom line is gardening can be a lot of work, but it is also a great source of pleasure and beauty, all the more so when you feel in top physical condition and are not dealing with pain. Follow these 7 simple tips to take care of your back, and enjoy the gardening season to it's fullest this year.