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The Top 10 Gardening Tips to Save Your Spine & Keep a ‘Spring’ in Your Step.

The weather is starting to warm up and now the yardwork begins. Our flower beds and gardens are calling our names. While spending more time outside means kneeling, bending, and twisting more mindfully, below are just a few tips sure to help.

  1. Warm up with light movement or a brisk walk to loosen your muscles and increase your flexibility. The smooth coordination of your muscles and ligaments is an important part of safe exertion in gardening and other activities.

  2. Know your strengths and limitations. Do not overexert, vary your activities, and take regular rest breaks.

  3. Avoid bending over repeatedly while standing upright when performing ground-level work like weeding. Get down closer to the task by kneeling or sitting on the ground or a gardening bench, rather than bending and twisting from the waist.

  4. Keep your back protected when you stand up from a sitting or crouched position. Rise up by straightening your legs at the knees, not by lifting your torso at the waist.

  5. Lift dirt and plants by letting your arms, legs and thighs carry the load: bend and straighten at the knees instead of the back and hips. Lift the load close to the body’s torso and center of gravity, and handle smaller, more manageable loads at a time.

  6. Use long-handled tools to give you leverage and help you avoid having to stoop while raking, digging, pushing or mowing.

  7. Switch hands frequently when doing prolonged raking, hoeing or digging actions. Repetitive motion on one side can bring on progressively serious joint imbalances and may produce postural misalignments and pain, including muscle spasms in the neck, shoulder and lower back.

  8. Don’t work too long in one position, especially one that is awkward or unusual. This can reduce circulation, restrict mobility, and promote strain injuries.

  9. Carry objects close to your body. Keeping the load close to your center of gravity reduces the risk of straining your neck and back.

  10. Don’t overexpose yourself to long periods in the sun. Utilize protective measures for your head and skin, drink plenty of fluids, and take frequent breaks.

*Reference: International Chiropractors Association’s (ICA) July 2001 Newsletter

Enjoy soaking in all of this vitamin D and fresh air! I look forward to seeing you all in the office so you can keep up with those weeds! Call us at 301-373-3731 for your chiropractic check-up.

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