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Stretches for the Garden

By Debra Rodzinak

When spending time in the yard, many people assume the “hunched” position: Hunched over the flower bed pulling weeds, planting bulbs, or spreading fertilizer and mulch.  With all of the damage that can be done to the spine and muscles of the back in the garden, the bending, twisting, and pulling may be too much for the back.

Stretching Before Gardening

It is vitally important to warm up and stretch the muscles before beginning any type of physical activity.  Gardening is no different.  Before reaching for a spade or shovel, stretch the back, legs, shoulders, and wrists to avoid injury. 

According to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), people can avoid injuries, pain, and stiffness in the back and other parts of the body by simply stretching before activities such as gardening.  Gardening can be a fun and enjoyable activity, but it is important to get the body ready for the bending, stretching, and twisting involved in this type of activity. 

Stretches for the Garden

Follow these simple stretches before working in the garden and muscle pain will be eliminated:

  • Do not stretch to the point pain is felt.  Rather, breathe slowly and don’t bounce the body.  Stretch only as far as feels comfortable.
  • While propping one heel on a step or ledge, sit on the ground and stretch one leg out in front while leaning forward.  Do not overstretch.  Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds.  Repeat with opposite leg.
  • For those with good balance, stand up and grab the ankle from behind.  Gently pull the heel toward the buttocks.  Do not pull too hard, but only until you feel a gentle stretch.  Repeat with the opposite leg.
  • Clasp the hands together with fingers interlaced.  Keeping fingers together pull arms over the head and stretch palms up to the sky.  Lean to one side for a few seconds, then switch to lean to the other side.  Repeat this position several times.
  • Hug yourself by wrapping your arms around yourself.  Slowly and gently twist from one side to the other.

Aftercare for Gardeners

After gardening, you may find soreness or muscle pain is present.  Applications of ice packs can help numb pain and reduce swelling.  Chiropractic care can also help with joints or muscles that have been injured or are painful.

If you have pain or discomfort in your back or spine after gardening, drop by The Joint for a gentle chiropractic adjustment.  At The Joint, the expert doctors work with patients on developing a chiropractic treatment plan that addresses a patient’s individual problems with individualized solutions.  Drop by The Joint today to begin your path to overall wellness.


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