4 Ways to Save Your Back While Gardening
Gardening work often involves working in/on the earth - which is usually below our feet. To do this work we bend over, squat down or kneel down to get in position – so it makes sense that lower backs cop a bit of a beating.
I spend a lot of time in my families’ garden and have a few tricks that have saved my back.
1) If there is an easier way to do something – take the easy way.
Example: Instead of bending down to plant things at ground height – put your pots up on a bench so you don’t have to do the job in such an awkward position. Spending the effort it takes to lift these things up to a garden table – although it may seem like an extra step – is more convenient than stopping with a sore back.
2) Consider your flexibility – stretching really helps.
Example: Most people have heard the advice “Bend your knees, not your back” but if you are too stiff to easily reach that trowel, you will probably bend whatever it takes to reach it as easily as possible. Regular stretching of the right muscles can fix this issue by making the advice “Bend your knees, not your back” easier/possible to follow.
3) A strong body is an injury resistant body
Example: Whether your endurance struggles after working for long periods or you have difficulty with shorter heavy jobs – these are both situations where your body is reaching its limits. You would find your limits in the garden less often if you trained regularly. A whole body strengthening program does wonders for injury prevention.
4) Pay attention to your back and perform extension based stretches
Example: Most jobs in the garden involve bending down, over and forward. Spend a lot of time in this forward flexed position, add a bit of lifting, and some digging and you are on your way to a sore back. An incredibly effective tool for avoiding this pain is to stop regularly, stand up straight and stretch your back into an arched or extended position – the opposite of bending forward
If you would like some guidance or assistance getting started with a flexibility and strengthening program come and see Sol the Gardening Physio at Rebound Health today!