Smart Gardening

Hands holding seedlengSMART GARDENING

Spring is here! As another winter fades and warmer weather approaches, it is time to get outside and get working on the yard and garden. While many of us look forward to working in the soil, it is a good idea to prepare your body for this increased work load. Muscle strains are common this time of year for those who jump right into the spring routine, without properly preparing themselves, after a long winter indoors.  Here are some tips to keep you pain-free this spring!

  1. Warm Up: A quick 10-15 minute walk around the neighborhood will do.  This gets the blood pumping and the body ready to work.
  2. Proper Form for Success:  Proper form indicates you should bend using your knees, not your back, or better yet, get a padded kneeler or stool.  If shoveling, keep the shovel close to your body, and turn using small steps, instead of twisting your back in an awkward position to throw the dirt aside.
  3. Take Breaks:  As you progress through the garden, identify small goals, (…when I finish weeding around 3 bushes, or after I plant 2 more flowers…) at which time you will stand up and stretch.  It is a good idea to plan stretching breaks every 5-10 minutes.
  4. Start Slowly:  On the first beautiful Saturday, you might be tempted to work outside all day, but it is a good idea to start slowly.  Work for 30-60 minutes and then take a break.  See how your body feels an hour later.  If you feel good, try another 30 minutes.
  5. Listen: You know your body …listen to it!  You will be glad you did tomorrow!

If you do suffer an injury, physical therapy is often the best first treatment option.  Quick access to care typically leads to more successful management of the injury. (At HARTZ, we often have same day or next day appointments available!)

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