If you love to garden, you’ve likely suffered a backache or two from maintaining your garden beds. It can be a multiple-season routine, depending on what you are planting or trying to grow, which means your back is regularly getting put under stress from bending over and over again. For others, they are doing most of the work during just one season of the year, which means their back may not be used to this type of labor.
While a few backaches may not seem like a big deal, you are actually putting your back in danger when you work in the garden improperly. Take a look at these few steps you can take to protect your back while gardening this year and what to do for that nasty back pain you hope you won’t experience.
Don’t wait for garden season to prepare your back
One of the biggest mistakes people make is that they will sit around on the couch during the cold seasons and then start doing work in the garden out of nowhere when the weather warms back up. The problem with this is that your back is not used to this kind of manual labor that can take up to 12 hours a day of work.
When you keep up a fitness routine during the winter season that keeps your back strong, working on your garden beds is suddenly not so different than the usual routine. Make sure you are exercising and spending less time on the couch over the winter in order to keep up your back strength during the warmer months of gardening.
Make sure you take breaks
Another common mistake among those that end up with back pain from gardening is that they get so into what they are working on, that they forget to take breaks. It’s important that every half hour you take a break. Try to schedule the work you need to do in 30 minute increments with breaks to stretch, sit down, and rehydrate. You won’t feel decent if you work at it non-stop all day or weekend and then try to resume your daily activity.
Help with muscle confusion by varying tasks
Just like a fitness instructor would tell you, muscle confusion during a workout or gardening session is great for toning the body and giving your muscles a rest. When you keep your tasks varied during gardening, it will help you to avoid hurting yourself. Don’t spend your whole day bending over to pick your weeds, but take some of that time to squat while pulling the weeds, dig while pulling, and other times bending. Your back will get a break and you’ll rely on other muscles to get you through the tasks.
Bring in some help
Lastly, when you see neighbor kids interested in what you’re doing, consider hiring them for a little bit of help. It will be a great bonding experience, a chance for the kids to learn about hard work, and an inexpensive way for you while a child would love a chance to earn some money. You won’t be dealing with back pain all week and you might get the work done in half the time.
Don’t allow the gardening season to put your back in danger. Make sure to end your sessions with a short walk to active your muscles and loosen things up, and then schedule a visit to your chiropractor for an adjustment before and after the work. You’ll feel better and you won’t harm your back during this year’s gardening season.