Work on your Strength and Flexibility in the Garden
Summer is in full swing and the summer flowers are in full bloom. If you spend a lot of time in your garden, it can be a great opportunity to cross train and help keep your muscles in balance!
You can use your gardening time to work on your functional strength and your flexibility. The best part is, you can do all of this while you beautify your yard or create food for your dinner table!
The way you move in the garden can affect whether you feel better or worse after a day in the garden. Here are a few things that you can do to make gardening an activity that improves the quality of your movement and helps prevent low back pain or neck pain:
1. Alternate Tasks – Garden, prune, water, weed then repeat. Don’t do one task all at the same time. Create a circuit so you vary your activity.
2. Change your Grip on your Tools – Switch to a palm up grip if you were using a palm down grip for a time.
3. Switch Hands – If you were shoveling with your right hand closer to the head of the shovel, then switch to the left hand in the lead. And, remember to switch your feet too!
4. Change your Sitting Position – Try sitting with your legs in a V-shape instead of your usual position.
5. Use Different Tools for the Same Job – You can use a different tool that is still efficient, but change the way you perform the task.
6. Carry Instead of Always Using a Wheelbarrow
7. Vary your Carry – Alternate between using your left and right sides
8. FIND YOUR HIPS – Shift or back up your hips when you bend or squat. By transferring the weight back, you are better able to transfer some of the load to your legs and not stress the back when you’re performing garden tasks. (Check out the video below for more details on this)
9. Don’t Let Gardening be the Only Movement of the Day – Mix it up with some walking or other activity.
10. Use Knee Pads – A pair of knee pads makes it easier to kneel and mix up your movement and use your arms and legs a little more evenly.
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