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Practice Safe Gardening

Dr. Jennifer Wise, D.C.

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I know it’s been a long time since we’ve thought about many outdoor activities, but the exciting truth is that it’s finally almost time for those “May flowers”!  If you’re planning on gardening, keep these tips in mind to avoid injury:

1. Warm-up

Try going on a short walk to loosen up your muscles and get your blood circulating before beginning gardening.

2. Stretch before and after your gardening session.

The Ontario Chiropractic Association recommends starting with these stretches to avoid injury.  Hold all stretches for 15 to 20 seconds. Stop if it is painful.

  • Thigh Stretch: With one hand on the wall or a tree, bend your left knee then reach back and hold your ankle with your right hand. Pull your heel toward your buttocks and hold for 30 seconds. Relax and repeat with the other leg. To stretch the back thigh muscles (hamstrings), with one hand on the wall or a tree put one foot on a chair, stump, or step. Slowly bend forward from the waist until you feel the pull at the back of your thigh. Hold for 30 seconds. Relax and repeat with the other leg.
  • Back Stretch: Sit on a chair and slowly bend your body forward from your hips, putting your head down and resting your hands on the floor.  Hold, then relax.
  • Shoulder Rolls:
    With your arms hanging loosely at your sides, slowly rotate your shoulders in a circular motion forward, then backward.
  • Wrist Extension: Hold one arm straight out as if you were giving a ‘stop’ signal, use your opposite hand to hold this position. Hold. Repeat with the other hand.
  • Wrist Flexion: Hold one arm out in front, palm down. Bend your fingers until they point toward the ground. Use your opposite hand to hold this position.

3. Lift with Care.

For any heavy lifting always try to recruit some help.  If you must lift alone, please remember these basic rules:

  1. Stand close to the load to be lifted
  2. Place your feet shoulder-width apart
  3. Keep your back straight
  4. Squat down to the object’s level and test the weight of the load
  5. Use the strength of your leg and arm muscles to smoothly and slowly lift the load
  6. Keep the load close to your body
  7. Pivot to turn and face the intended direction of travel. Proceed with the load
  8. Avoid twisting your body while carrying the load
  9. Bend your knees and slowly lower the load to its intended place

Remember to have your spine checked by your chiropractor- you may not always feel a subluxation, but if you are starting with a spine that is misaligned or not moving properly, you will be much more likely to experience an injury.  Come in and see Dr. Wise for a Spring tune-up