5 tips for safer gardening this spring

Enjoy your time in the garden this spring with these 5 top tips from chiropractor Josh Dixon

As the days get a little longer, and more and more stuff starts to pop out of the ground you may find yourself itching to get out in the garden or hesitant to get out there for fear of the effects the day after. Gardening can be an extremely satisfying and therapeutic activity as well as a great source of exercise helping to keep you more active and more healthy. For some however it is a daunting task which inevitably leads to days, weeks or even months of pain afterwards. But this doesn’t need to be the case. By following our simple tips below you can enjoy your time in the garden this spring and summer without the hassle of being stopped in your tracks by pain.

Mix it up!

The first and most important tip I can give you is not to do one task or stay in one position for too long when gardening. If you find yourself kneeling for half an hour planting, stop and take a break or change job for the next 30 minutes and then come back to it. That may seem like it will take forever to get anything done, but stiffness from being in the same position for too long is a common cause of pain, and your body will thank you for the variety.

Don’t just water the plants

It’s easy when you get stuck into a task to forget things like drinking water, but spending a day in the garden in what will hopefully be a blazing hot summer can cause dehydration. This can lead to cramping in the muscles and also worsen sprains or strains in the lower back.

Kneel if needed

When you know you’re going to be working low down for a while don’t stand and stoop, kneel down and try and concentrate on keeping your back straight. Prolonged lumbar flexion (forward bending of the lower back) can cause disc injuries and increase strain on the joints and muscles in the lower back. Kneeling pads can help protect your knees from strain or bruising.

Stretch after gardening

Think of gardening like any other form of exercise, without a good warm down stretching routine you are likely to end up feeling stiff and sore afterwards. This can stay with you for longer than you might think, and can end up causing longer term compensations and problems. The main areas to focus on are the gluteals, lower back and hamstrings. For a full stretching routine call in to see one of our chiropractors, but a simple set of stretches which can help are as follows

  • Position yourself on all fours, tuck your lower back in and drop your chest and tummy towards the floor (so your back is fully arched backwards) and look up. Then arch your back the other way so your chest and tummy are as far away from the floor as possible. Repeat this ten times

Gardening stretch Gardening stretch

  • Lie on your back and pull your knee up to your chest and across your body (as if you were trying to touch it on your opposite shoulder) you should feel a stretch in your buttock. Hold for ten seconds and repeat three or four times on each side.

Gardening stretch

  • Sit with your legs outstretched, bend one leg up so the sole of your foot is against your inner thigh of the other leg and gently bend forwards until you feel a stretch in the back of the thigh of the straight leg. Again perform three or four holds of around ten seconds on each side.

Gardening stretch

Finally get adjusted!

Did you know chiropractic improves muscle and nervous system function as well flexibility and mobility. Seeing a chiropractor before you start gardening, rather than once you have hurt yourself, could be the key to enjoying your time in the garden this spring and summer. If you are new to chiropractic you can always book a free fifteen minute consultation to find out more about what we can do for you and the amazing power chiropractic can have to change your life. Don’t wait, book now!