Time to get outside and work on our yards/gardens. Here are a few tips to help keep the injury imp from striking.
As the weather continues to tease us that warmer days are ahead, people will be dusting off their trowels and reaching for their gardening gloves. Just with any physical activity, you need to prepare and take a few simple precautions to help prevent causing pain or worse, injuries. Before you start doing anything take a few minutes and warm up. Take a brisk walk around your garden/yard to survey what you will be working on. This will raise your body temperature and get your blood pumping into your muscles. Roll your shoulders, rotate your torso slowly, do a few squats with your back straight to prepare you for lifting.
Once you begin, always break down the tasks at hand into smaller more manageable sections. Take frequent breaks as you work and remember, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon weren’t built in a day. When working remember to keep good posture, bending at your knees instead of your waist, avoid twisting or overreaching. Instead, shuffle/move your feet or get closer. If you are using tools, try to use ergonomic, well-designed tools. They should lightweight and long handle. Larger hand grips will also help to reduce the strain on your forearm muscles. If possible, try and change hand soften but only if this doesn’t put you at more risk of injuring yourself (cuts). Use kneeling pads while planting or hand digging.
Halfway through your gardening as well as at the end when you are done, make sure to stretch your muscles. This will help to reduce your soreness the next day. For your legs stretch your hamstrings by placing your heel on a low step with your leg straight. Slowly lean forward at your hips while keeping your back straight.
For your thighs, stand close to a wall for balance. Bring your heel to your buttock and hold. Switch sides. For your lower legs, stand with your hands’ on the wall with your one foot behind the other. Keep your leg straight and make sure your heel is on the ground. In addition, a step closer and bend your knee while still keeping your heel on the ground.
For your forearms and wrists, extend your elbow with your palm facing down and slowly drop your wrist to the floor using your other hand to help stretch. Repeat this stretch by pulling your wrist back towards you.
To stretch your back muscles lay flat on your back and bring your knee to your chest and hold. You can do this one leg at a time or bring both at once.
Enjoy the warmer weather and your time in the garden. Winter will be here before you know it.
If you have any questions regarding the material in this newsletter, give us a call or email us at the clinic. In addition, if you would like to have an educational talk at your workplace on ergonomics and posture, proper lifting techniques or injury prevention, let us know. We would be excited to come and share our knowledge on staying healthy.