Dr. Samantha Coleman, D.C. – Owner/Chiropractic Physician
Have you ever noticed that your back is sore after gardening? Gardening is a physical activity and should be prepared for just like exercise. Here are a few tips to prevent you from hurting your back while you weed, rake, plant and prune:
- Stretch before you garden. You probably don’t think of gardening as a rigorous form of exercise that requires stretching, but stretching helps any activity where you are bending and reaching. So, before you pick up your trowel or shears, spend 5 to 10 minutes warming up your muscles.
Use these stretches recommended by the American Chiropractic Association:
- Sit down, with your leg stretched out in front of you, propping your heel on a step while keeping your knee straight. Lean forward until you feel the stretch in the back of your thigh or hamstring. Hold for 15 seconds and then repeat. Switch legs and repeat.
- While standing, grab the front of your ankle from behind and pull your heel towards your buttocks. Balance for 15 seconds. Do this again and then repeat with the other leg.
- Stand up straight and weave your fingers together above your head, pushing your palms up. Lean to your right side for 10 seconds, then to the left. Repeat three times.
- Wrap your arms around yourself like you are hugging yourself, and rotate to one side, stretching as far as is comfortable. Hold for 10 seconds and then rotate to the opposite side. Repeat three times.
- Engage proper posture. When you can, kneel instead of bend. When you lean, bend from the hips keeping your back straight from your neck to the bottom of your spine. Use the muscles in your thighs and buttocks for lifting, instead of your back muscles, and imagine pulling your belly button in toward your spine.
- Be aware of how you are positioning your body to garden tools. Hold small gardening tools close to your body instead of reaching out. If you are raking or shoveling, be sure to move your feet instead of twisting your torso to reduce strain your back.
- Take breaks to stretch and breathe. When you are gardening, it’s likely you’ll find yourself stuck in the same position for a while. You want to vary your positions and the best way to do this is to take regular breaks and stretch. One of the best ways to stretch your back is to lie down on your back and lift your hips in the air. Rotate your hips from side to side with your hips in the air. You can also stretch by reaching to the sky and then to the ground. Your muscles need oxygen, and likely you aren’t concentrating on breathing while you’re gardening, but if you are, that’s wonderful! Take breaks to catch your breath, stretch and get a drink of water for recovery.
- If you’re not ready for a break, switch up activities. Switching activities will help you vary positions. For example, instead of only weeding for an hour, switch to pruning or raking for a while and then return to weeding.
- Cool down. Just like any type of exercise, you’ll want to cool down by stretching. You can repeat the warm-up exercise above as cool down stretches.
If you find that you’re sore after gardening, you can apply a cold pack or a warm pack can help after 48 hours. As always, visiting your chiropractor can help with your back pain.
ChiroSolutions Center is the premier Virginia Beach chiropractor located in Town Center. Dr. Samantha Coleman, D.C. and her staff can help you add quality to your life and add life to your years. Call for an appointment. (757) 271-0001
Dr. Samantha Coleman, D.C. is the Owner and Chiropractic Physician for ChiroSolutions Center in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Click here for more information about Dr. Coleman.
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