If this past weekend’s weather is any indication, spring has officially arrived, and Seattle residents are eager to get some much needed Vitamin D. The local parks and hiking trails are filling up, and residential gardens everywhere are brimming with possibility. The prospect of growing your own produce or beautifying the yard with flowers is exciting, but it’s important to properly prepare for a day of gardening in order to prevent injury. After a cold and wet winter, most of us aren’t used to kneeling, twisting, and crouching in the dirt all day long.
Follow these 5 tips to keep your spine healthy while tending to the garden:
- Come in for an adjustment with Dr. Vivian before you do any rigorous gardening work. Being properly aligned helps prevent back strain. This is especially important if you’re recovering from a recent injury. Talk to Dr. Vivian about your gardening plans so she can offer advice on how to avoid re-injuring yourself.
- Stretch your body before a day of gardening. You don’t have to spend an hour in the yoga studio, but 15-20 minutes of gentle stretching will save you a lot of pain later on.
- Warm up with a walk around the block before you begin. Walking for at least 5 minutes will help loosen up your legs and hips.
- Lift properly, with your knees bent, using the power of your legs rather than the power of your back muscles. Avoid lifting anything while kneeling, twisting while lifting, and lifting any heavy load above your head.
- Take breaks frequently. Stop working at least every hour to drink water and rest. Laying down and stretching your arms above your head is a good, restful, counter-stretch for all the bending you’ll be doing.
Hopefully these tips help your spine stay healthy this spring. Above all else, be sure to stop gardening if you feel back pain. Listen to your body and don’t hesitate to ask Dr. Vivian if you have any questions about proper technique.