Summer is here and many of us are out in the garden. For many of us, the long winter months are spent in anticipation and planning for award winning gardens. However, few of us have spent much time getting ourselves into shape for the coming season. With gardening growing in popularity, we see more injuries than ever seen before. Here are some safety tips to help you prevent injury and enjoy your time outdoors.
Gardening is like any other activity. A proper active warm up is needed to prepare the body for the positions and muscle work involved that will help avoid the aches and pains that are normally felt afterward.
Visit your local gardening store for tools that allow ergonomically correct posture. One will find everything from shovels to small hand tools as well as specialty handles available for all. Use a wheel barrow to move heavy items when possible. When lifting, one should tighten their core muscles, while lifting with your legs. Imagine your abdominals are a girdle that is tightening around you, bringing your belly button closer to your spine. Remember to breath while lifting and avoid using your back to lift up the object.
Some Tips to help avoid injury while gardening
1) While planting, weeding or harvesting your garden, it's best to squat down or kneel on a kneeling pad instead of bending forward at the waist.
2) When digging, insert the shovel head vertically into the ground and step on the blade, lifting small amounts of dirt at a time.
3) When shovel ling, push from the end of the handle and shift your weight forward from your back leg while keeping your knees bent and core tight.
4) Using a hoe or rake, step into the movement instead of bending forward and just using your arms.
5) When cutting the lawn, keep your arms close to your side and walk with the lawn mover.
6) Plan frequent stretching breaks – stand and lean backwards with your hands on your hips. As well reach over head and rotate your head side to side. Shoulder rolls to relax the muscles between the shoulder blades.
7) Plan frequent changes in position to minimize soreness.
8) Spread the work out over a couple of days or weekends. Don't try to get it all done in one day.
If you are stiff and sore from your day, try some of the following:
1) Go for a walk to increase blood flow to your muscles which will help with the removal of built up lactic acid which causes soreness
2) Stretch after your day in the garden, holding each position for 30sec- 1min
3) Apply ice for 15-20 min to a sore area which will help with pain relieve and reducing inflammation
4) Take a rest giving your body time to recover
The most common injuries we see after a weekend of gardening are lower back pain and shoulder pain.
If you have over done it and your aches and pains just won`t go away, contact us to find the most appropriate treatment method.