After months inside, it’s easy to disregard spinal health when you finally head out to the garden. The best preparation for safe summer gardening is a body properly conditioned and supported by exercise, good posture, and chiropractic care all year round, but you can incorporate the following tips into your routine to help ensure a healthy and pain-free gardening season.
1. Take It Slow
Even if you feel like you’re still in good shape, doing activities you haven’t done for a while can still lead to muscle soreness. This is especially true while doing heavy lifting during planting in the spring and clean-up in the fall.
2. Warm Up
Taking a short walk before digging in will help prime your muscles, increase your flexibility, and get the circulatory system ready for a day in the garden.
3. Know Your Limits
Don’t overexert yourself, switch positions and activities regularly, and take breaks. Working in one position for an extended time can restrict circulation, limit mobility, and increase the likelihood of strain injuries.
4. Lift Right
Lift objects with your legs, not your torso, and keep them close to your body. Keeping the load near your center of gravity reduces the risk of sprains and strains.
5. Use The Proper Equipment
Consider wearing functional orthotic inserts, as most shoes made for gardening provide little arch support. Use tools with long handles to avoid poor positioning while raking, lifting or digging.
6. Protect Yourself
Ensure you’re getting plenty of fluids while doing any activity, especially if you’re outdoors in the sun. Use sunscreen and headwear to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.
7. Pain vs. Soreness
Muscle soreness resulting from overuse usually disappears within two days. If pain persists longer or gets worse, it’s important to visit your chiropractor to rule out injury.