This is the time of the year that all gardeners love. Whether it’s flowers or herbs, vegetables or fruit, gardeners are in their element right now. But that also means it’s the time of year for a lot of work. All that work, the bending, and lifting take a toll on your back. So, here are a few tips to protect your back while doing what you love.
Stretch and Warm-up
While you may think of stretching as something reserved for the time before or after a workout, it’s a good idea to stretch before you go to work in your garden too. You’ll be working all sorts of muscles whether you’re digging, weeding, trimming, or harvesting and those muscles need to be ready to do their job safely. Take a few minutes to do some gentle stretches and go for a quick 5-minute walk just to get your body ready to work.
Whether you’re lifting heavy bags of soil, digging a hole for a plant, or pulling weeds, the position your body is in while doing any of it can mean the difference between just getting the job done and some major pain. When lifting anything, lift with your legs and engage your core. When digging, use your weight to your advantage rather than relying solely on muscle strength. When weeding, grab a gardening stool or scooter so you’re not putting as much pressure on your knees, hips, and back. Whatever job you’re performing in the garden, make sure you’re supporting your body as much as possible so you’re not paying for it later.
Take frequent breaks
It’s easy to get caught up in the task at hand and not realize how much time has passed, but your body always knows when it’s time to take a break. Set small goals to get certain things done and take breaks in between. This will give you plenty of time to cool down and your muscles some time to rest before you go back to what you were doing.
Raised-bed and container gardening are becoming more and more popular for a number of reasons, one of which is that it can be much easier on the body. You’re not having to bend over as much for any part of your regular gardening care, which can help to keep your back in a more neutral position, making you less likely to injure it.
A love for gardening doesn’t mean you’re bound to deal with back pain. A few minor changes to your habits can help keep your back strong and able to handle as much gardening as you like.