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Bring on Spring!!!!!!!

Posted 4/28/2018

 

Itching to do some gardening? The sunshine sure has given us Spring Fever! Remember, the secret to a healthy garden is a healthy gardener. Gardening can cause muscle strain to the lower back, shoulders, knees and arms. And since we usually jump into it after a winter away from the action and positions required, gardening injuries are not uncommon.

Follow these tips and enjoy the fruits of your labour. Don’t be limited by the aches and pains!

STRETCH! BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER ACTIVITY

Stretching helps you to move more easily, increased the blood flow, keeps your muscles flexible and relaxed, your joints mobile and relieves tension and strain.

Do some shoulder circles, gentle trunk rotation, and heel/toe stands. Go through the movements you will be doing while unloaded. Don’t forget to stretch your wrists and forearms as gardening tools require a lot rasping tasks.

MAINTAIN GOOD BODY ALIGNMENT

Keep weights and activities close to your body. Move with your work; keep your work in front of and close to your body to avoid reaching and twisting. Imagine yourself ‘dancing’ with the rake. Lift with your knees bent, keeping your back straight. Keep the weight against your belly button; this will remind you to bend with your legs and to move your feet instead of twisting your back.

Be realistic! Your body can only perform at the level of effort and endurance it is accustomed to. Don’t try to get it all done in one day. You wouldn’t go to the gym for 8 or 10 hours after a 6 months break would you?

DON’T OVER LIFT

Standard safe lifting loads are 64 lbs. (about 29 kg) for middle-aged men and 28 lbs. (about 13 kg) for women, but a ‘safe’ lift is less than this when the load is difficult to reach or an awkward shape. Now, those are just guidelines and your ability may be more or less. Always test the load first and if you think it is too heavy ASK FOR HELP from a spouse, children, neighbours, heck even ask a stranger walking down the street!

PACE YOURSELF! 

Take a break, spread tasks over a period of time, and take time to recover between projects. Again, just like in the gym, you would take a break between sets so remember this in the garden.

MIX IT UP

Avoid over-use injuries by doing different activities throughout the day to reduce strain on major muscle groups and joints. Start with some raking, and then maybe re-arrange some flowers.

USE THE RIGHT TOOLS

Gardening tools and equipment are meant to ease work, not cause additional strain. Take measures to fit the tools to you, not you to the tools. Keep your supplies within easy reach.

Use tools to reduce work; a wheelbarrow to transport supplies or an extended handle to reduce the reach. There a lots of tools with good grips or ergonomic handles available; USE THEM!

WHEN RAKING OR HOEING

Keep your tools close to your body and your back straight to reduce strain. Have a little ‘dance’ with your rake!

WHEN WEEDING OR PLANTING

Squat or kneel on a kneeling pad. If you have difficulty getting up, use a kneeling pad / bench with a support handle for assistance.

Give your back, legs and knees a break from stooping and kneeling by using tools with long handles to help with the weeding.

Squat or sit on the ground to trowel, rather than bending over.

WHEN DIGGING OR SHOVELLING

Insert the head of the shovel vertically into the ground and step on the blade.

Lift small amounts at a time. Keep your back straight and bend at the knees. Avoid twisting.

WHEN LIFTING OR CARRYING

Know your body’s abilities and lift properly; bend your knees, not your back, keep the load close to your body and do not twist. Always test the load first and if too heavy – GET HELP!

Use a wagon or wheelbarrow to transport supplies and/or to move or carry heavy items.

PROTECT YOUR HANDS        

Tools with larger, padded handles are more comfortable for gardeners with painful or arthritic hands. You can enlarge tool handles yourself with grip-tape or foam tubing purchased at a hardware store.

Gardening gloves can protect your hands and joints.

Keep tools (such as your pruners) sharp to make cutting easier.

 

PHYSIOTHERAPY CAN HELP

Physiotherapists are healthcare professionals who help people of all ages and lifestyles gain and maintain their desired level of active living and physical mobility. With their understanding of the human body in action, physiotherapists are able to help you increase your mobility, relieve pain, build strength and improve balance and cardiovascular function. Physiotherapists not only treat injuries, they also teach you how to prevent the onset of pain or injury that can limit your activity. Don’t let an injury get in the way of your beautiful yard; if you have an injury starting treatment early can help speed your return to activity. Book your appointment today. 403-945-0227

 

The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.