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Now that the sun has decided to stick around, gardeners have come out of their houses to play in the dirt!
It happens each year: gardeners feeling the pain of spring after devoting hours of their day to tilling, fertilizing, watering, picking, lifting, and pulling in their gardens. This sudden shift from winter blues into spring gardening can cause injuries as people don’t prepare for the hours spent in the garden. Back pain, neck pain, wrist and hand pain as well as knee pain are common injuries gardeners suffer with throughout the summer.
Three ways you can keep your body happy this gardening season are:
-Stretching your muscles
-Using proper body form when working at different heights
-Use the right tool for the job
Here are some of our favorite back and shoulder stretches:
Lumbar twist: Keep one leg straight, then bend the other knee up and rotate it across the body until it can drop to the floor. *Try to keep your shoulders on the ground* Hold 30 sec.
Childs Pose: Start on all fours and push your hips back so your buttocks rest on your heels. Reach hands forward and relax shoulders. *Try reaching to the sides* Hold 30 sec.
Downward shoulder stretch: Standing, lace your fingers and push your hands downward and away from the center of the body, knuckles facing you. Hold 30 sec.
Doorway pectoralis stretch: Stand in a doorway with your elbow against your body and your hands against the edge doorway. Gently step or lean forward (keeping elbows pointed down) until stretch is felt across front shoulder/chest). Hold 30 sec.
The most important way to keep you a happy gardener is to use proper form when working in your garden. Here are some positions to consider when spending long periods of time weeding, planting, or picking.
Low beds: Consider a low kneeling position using a spongy or foam cushion for your knees. Keep your back straight, and bend from the hips to lean forward. An alternative would be a full squat position. Use hand tools that are not too large and awkward for working close to the ground.
If standing while working the garden, make sure the garden tools are long enough to keep back straight.
Raised beds: A high kneeling position (using a cushion or kneepads) can keep you from a sustained bent-over position. Use smaller hand tools to prevent awkward wrist/hand movements.
Waist height: working from a high seat may be the best solution. If this is not an option, stand with a shoulder width stance, straight back and lean forward from the hips. Work with small hand tools to prevent excessive bending or twisting.
Overhead: It is best not to work overhead, so bring the planters down or use a ladder to reach if you can. If not, be careful not to shrug your shoulders (towards ears) when working. Press shoulder blades down to use muscles in your back and between shoulders when working overhead. Avoid overhead lifting while twisting at all times.
We hope these suggestions will keep you healthy and happy this growing season. If you do find yourself in pain give the clinic a call or book online!