This is a great post from Donna Taylor giving us tips to keep ourselves healthy this summer when working in the garden, check it out! - Dave
Gardening season is in full swing and here are a few reminders to keep you happy and "ache free" .
1) Posture - Just like in all things we do, proper form is important. Even a few minutes using the wrong muscles and having bad posture can lead to hours of agony. It is important to remember not To Bend Forward From The Waist, causing your back to arch. Instead lean forward from your hips, ( lead with your chest). When possible bend your knees and draw your belly button in towards your back and tighten your butt muscles. These simple things help you to activate your core muscles and helps take pressure and strain off your back.
2) Use the right tools
A good way to protect your knees when you have to work close to the ground is to use a pad under your knees when you need to kneel and alternate it with sitting on a portable garden stool.
When choosing tools to work with in the garden make sure they are lightweight with long handles or extensions.
Keep all tools close to your work area to avoid overreaching or continuous up and down action.
For other great accessory ideas check out the Arthritis Foundation website, www.arthritis.org, under home and hobbies.
3) Dress appropriately
Sandals may be cute and nice to wear in the warm weather, but when gardening they do not offer enough support.
Instead opt for a supportive shoe with cotton socks.
And don't forget the gloves to protect your hands from cuts and scrapes. If cleaning out a large untamed area with lots of bushes and branches, you may want to consider long pants and a long sleeve shirt for further protection from cuts, scrapes , and bugs. Bug repellent containing DEET is also recommended by the CDC to protect you from Mosquitos and ticks.
Always protect your skin from the sun with a wide brimmed hat and sunscreen with an spf of
15 or higher.
4) Know your limits
Listen to your body, take breaks when necessary and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
If you experience light headedness , dizziness, or nausea stop immediately and get out of the sun since these may be signs of a heat related illness.
A great way to protect your joints and avoid strain to your muscles is to stretch before and after gardening.
Taking a few minutes to walk around your garden will warm up your muscles and get the blood flowing.
Stretching after gardening helps get the tension out of your muscles and helps them return to a relaxed state quicker.
Here are some recommended stretches. All stretches should be held at a point of tolerance. with no pain.
Stretches should be held 20-30 seconds and 2x.
Please feel free to email me with any questions regarding this blog, firstname.lastname@example.org
Donna Kulzak-Taylor, LMT, CMMT