Tips on how to look after your back and lift safely at Christmas.
It’s the best year of sunshine since they started recording it and with not much else to do, lots of people have been out gardening.
This can be the cause of many aches and pains over the summer months as you head straight out into the garden after a winter off and spend the whole day gardening. The repetitive and sometimes unfamiliar motion that your body undergoes during gardening activities can cause mechanical problems within the body.
Gardening is a great workout for the whole body with all that bending, twisting, lifting and pulling and so it is important to treat it as such: You should do a warm up at the start and a cool down afterwards and try not to spend longer than 20-30 minutes on any one activity – if you haven’t finished a particular task you can take a rest break or do something else for a while before you go back to it.
Suggested areas to focus on for your warm up and cool down – because they are used regularly in gardening activities – are: back, legs, shoulders, wrists.
The Warm up
The importance of a warm up is in the loosening of any tight muscles to reduce the risk of injury during the manual activity. You could simply start with lighter jobs that will have you moving around more before moving onto harder/heavier jobs, alternatively you can do a more formal warm up of some simple stretches.
The benefit of the cool down is similar to the warm up – to loosen up the muscles so that after they’ve been tense from use they don’t stiffen up. When we use our muscles we contract them and if we don’t stretch them back out again afterwards they stay tight and this is when we can feel stiff and achy. The same stretches you chose for the warm up will be of benefit for the cool down as well.
Helpful gardening stretches
Knee to chest stretch
Cat / Camel Stretch
There are 2 muscles in the calf that benefit from stretching. The picture shows both stretches. For the 1st stretch you keep the back leg straight and for the 2nd stretch you bend the back leg. You’ll feel the stretch closer to the ankle with the 2nd position.
Happy Gardening everyone.
If you’d like more information about stretches and exercises then please do get in touch with Chiropractor Hazel or if you’ve hurt yourself while gardening you can book an appointment now.