Tips From the Chiropractor on Safer Gardening
By Genevieve Smith
Gardening is a lovely way to get outside and engage in the environment. It’s low impact, rewarding (most times!), and a healthy way to burn calories. Nonetheless, it is easy enough to become sore, stiff, or injured while digging in the dirt. The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) Council on Occupational Health recommends warming up and cooling down at the start and end of each gardening session with a few simple stretches to get your body in the right space for activity.
Stretch to Grow
Follow a gentle approach, avoiding bouncing or jerking muscles. Stretching should never be painful! The ACA suggests starting and ending your time in the garden with the following routine:
Breathe - Inhale and exhale slowly to reconnect with your body.
Hamstring stretch - Sit on the ground. Extend one leg in front of you. Lean forward to engage in the stretch, and hold for 15 seconds. Switch legs and repeat on the other side. For a deeper stretch, prop the heel of your extended leg up on a step.
Thigh stretch - While standing, balance on one leg and bring the ankle of your free leg to your hand. Hold your ankle, and pull your heel toward your buttock. Hold for 15 seconds. Release, switch to the other leg, and repeat.
Side stretch - Standing up, weave fingers together above your head and face palms up. Lean to one side, holding for 10 seconds, then switch to the other side. Repeat the cycle three times.
Do the twist - Create a tight hug by wrapping your arms around your chest. Rotate to one side, twisting as far as is comfortable, and hold for 10 seconds. Release and turn to the other side. Repeat the rotations two to three times.
Before tending to your plants, take a moment to think about your body’s form, posture and technique. Kneel rather than bend, change up your position with regularity, and engage in a variety of movements to keep muscles and joints balanced.
Gardening is a great way to get outside and learn more about nature. Stretching is a must-do for anyone looking to avoid injury, and it helps guide you out of your head and into your body. Keep in mind simple techniques to avoid straining any one muscle, by shifting weight and changing up positions regularly. Take your healthcare a step up by including chiropractic in your regimen, and you’ll find injuries coming around less often. If you’d like to invite the chiropractic team at The Joint into your life, feel free to walk in anytime, no appointments necessary.
To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Phoenix, Ariz.