It’s that time of year again where the home’s best friend can be the spine’s worst enemy. I’m speaking of course, about summer gardening. Doing yard work can be cathartic and rewarding; hauling wheelbarrows of mulch, carrying bags of clippings and planting flowers help you not only beautify your property, but also to learn new crafts, get a good cardio workout and enjoy a productive hobby. But the wear and tear on your body can really take a toll throughout the warm seasons, so it’s important to warm up properly and take simple precautions to avoid back injury. After all, staying hunched over a plot of dirt all day isn’t good for your spine.
Stretch, stretch and stretch
Before you begin any sort of rigorous physical activity, you should take a few minutes to stretch. In fact, while you’re at it, stretch every day regardless. It helps you retain flexibility, improves your range of motion and gives you a better sense of balance, helping you to avoid injury during everyday activity.
But it’s particularly important to stretch before rigorous or prolonged physical activity. Generally speaking, yard work can take anywhere from a couple hours to a whole day. This is a long time to remain physically active. Whether hauling leaves or grass clippings, pushing a lawn mower, planting flowers or trimming trees and hedges, it’s important to prepare yourself to avoid injury. I’m not saying you need to do yoga every time you trim the hedges, just a quick 5–10 minute stretch will suffice.
Don’t go all-in all at once
You’re a hard worker. You deserve a break once in a while. Seriously, when you dedicate a day to yard work, take breaks every so often. Cool down inside, grab a glass of ice cold water and take a load off for 5 or 10 minutes before resuming. Being so focused on the task at hand can make time fly, but try to set an alarm on your phone every hour or so to take a break to re-hydrate and give your body some rest. It’s also beneficial to break monotonous tasks into segments. If you’re spending hours on end hunched over plants, it’s not going to go well for your spine. Instead, try switching activities every 20 minutes or so and come back to finish them later. Repetitive, strenuous motions should be avoided.
Take proper care of your spine
Getting regular chiropractic adjustments is healthy, especially during the warmer seasons. Between outdoor yard work and general increased outdoor activity in the summer, it’s important to ensure that you won’t injure yourself. Visiting a chiropractor will help you become more flexible and protect your joints from the natural wear and tear that comes with doing yard work and other strenuous physical activities. If you plan on doing some DIY projects this summer — whether simple gardening or tearing out hedges, consider scheduling a consultation today. Your physical health is my number one priority. I’ll create an individualized treatment regimen custom tailored to you to improve your flexibility, balance, range of motion, joint and spinal health, and more. Get in touch to get started.