Perhaps the good weather of the last few days has awakened in you the desire to put on your gardening gloves and embark on a spring cleaning of your yard? Good for you! However, it is useful to remember the tips that will allow you to avoid an unfortunate injury. Here are a few tips that will allow you to make the most of the joys of spring gardening:
- Warming up: It is important to remember that a good warm up is always necessary before embarking on any physical activity such as gardening. Performing a small routine of a few minutes that solicits the muscles of the upper body reduces the chances of suffering from unnecessary aches. In general, it is interesting to perform gentle movements up to the limit of what our spine allows us to do without the onset of pain. Here are some movements that allow you to solicit your spine in all possible directions:
- Rotation: First, cross your arms over your trunk, resting your hands on your shoulders. Without moving your hips, gently turn your trunk to one side, as if looking over your shoulder. When you reach the end of the movement, gently twist in the opposite direction. Repeat the movement about 15 times.
- Lateral bend: Keep your arms crossed over your trunk. Gently bend your left shoulder as far as possible toward the floor to your left. Then go to the opposite side. Repeat the maneuver fifteen times.
- Squat: Gently bend your trunk forward until your back is in tension, then return to the neutral position. Repeat the maneuver fifteen times.
- Alternating tasks: The repetition of physical tasks can sometimes cause injuries, since the same muscle groups will work tirelessly. It is therefore important to vary the postures and tasks performed in order to avoid overuse of a particular muscle group.
- Division of tasks: It is better to divide tasks over several days than to overwork one day and physically pay the price in the following days.
- Handling charges:
- Small load: when you have to carry small charges, it is better to divide the loads and not overload yourself. Injuries are common when we exceed the physical capabilities of our body.
- Stable wheelbarrow: favour a wheelbarrow or a stable container rather than a structure that only has one wheel.
- Bend your knees: whether bending, lifting a load or working close to the ground, it is better to bend your knees rather than using your back.
- Close-fitting load: Avoid holding heavy loads at arm’s length, as your body will have to work harder to support the same weight. Instead, get into the habit of holding loads close to your body.
- Alternation of movement: when you have to perform a repetitive task, avoid using only your dominant hand. So vary the positioning of your hands to alternate working positions.
- Protective gear: Whether we’re talking about knee pads for gardening, goggles for trimming bushes, water to stay hydrated or sunscreen for sunny days, it’s important to plan the equipment you will need based on the task at hand and the weather ahead.
You are now equipped to start your spring cleaning. Happy gardening!
-Dr. Philippe Parent-Simard, chiropractor