gardening safety

4 Tips to Know Before Heading Out to the Garden

April 3, 2017 by Chislehurst Chiropractic Clinic

It’s almost time to get out into the garden! For many, gardening is an enjoyable and relaxing pastime. However, even though gardening is a low-intensity activity, gardeners are still susceptible to injuries of all kinds. When we’re out in the garden, we tend to use muscles that we don’t usually use. In order to prepare you for outdoor work, we’ve compiled a list of tips to stay safe in the garden!

#1. Stretch and Warm-Up

As with any physical activity, it’s important to stretch before starting. Stretching prevents muscles from cramping up while we work. Gardening sometimes means that you’ll be in the same position for a long period of time, so stretching your arms, legs, and back are important. You can also do a mild warm-up to increase your heart rate. A couple laps around the house, or a light jog or brisk walk will increase circulation and body temperature.

#2 Bend, Don’t Reach

Most back problems develop as a result of improper reaching and bending through the spine. Naturally, when we reach down to pick something up, or to pull a weed out of the garden, we want to bend at the waist while standing, however, we encourage you to lower yourself to the ground first. This means kneeling, squatting or using a short stool to sit. Using the proper gardening tools will also help you reduce any unnecessary back strain. But, if you must bend downward, bend at the knees and don’t pull with your back. Instead, use the power of your legs and arms.

#3 Rest and Take Breaks

You might want to work from sun rise to sun set, but that is not advisable. If the sun is out, and you’re working hard, it’s easy to become overworked. Make sure to take frequent breaks out of the sun and give your body time to rest. Even if you don’t think you’re tired, force yourself to take a break anyway! You might need one even if you don’t feel it.

#4 Keep Hydrated and Stay Covered

Drink water consistently while gardening. It’s easy to become dehydrated and overheated without knowing it. Signs of dehydration include feeling thirsty, having a dry mouth, or experiencing headaches or dizziness. If you start to experience these symptoms, grab a glass of water and take a break immediately!

And while you’re outdoors, make sure that you are properly covered. The sun, even when it’s behind clouds, can have damaging effects on the skin if it’s not properly protected. To stay protected, wear a hat, sunglasses, apply sunscreen, wear long sleeve shirts and trousers, or stay under a shaded area.

Having a beautiful garden doesn’t have to lead to pain. And, if you have a gardening sessions coming-up, make sure to get checked and adjusted so that your body is ready for work ahead. When you do get adjusted, your body and nervous system adapt better to the different stresses. A primary function of the nervous system is to adapt to our environment and to all the stimuli that we throw at ourselves! Call Chislehurst Chiropractic Clinic at 0208-295-1733 to schedule a consultation.

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