It’s a gorgeous time of year to get outdoors and tackle some backyard projects. Gardening is a popular hobby and excellent exercise, but with many opportunities for injury and muscle strain. From planting and weeding to building and lifting, your weekend project is a recipe for back pain, and we’re here to help.
- Before, during, and after your garden project, make sure you stretch. Stretching helps relieve tension in muscles to promote better movement and will act as a countermeasure for stiffness that results from repetitive movement.
- Make sure to cycle between your garden areas to allow for varied movements to prevent the feeling of getting ‘stuck’.
- Take breaks as you need them; have a snack, hydrate, and reapply your SPF. Your body will thank you for it.
- For all your heavy lifting and weed pulling needs, remember the old adage—lift from your knees, not from your back. By maintaining a proper squat and/or anchoring your knee to the ground for balance, you can distribute the strain of any pulling and lifting movements more evenly while protecting the muscles in your back, using your core muscles for support. Hug the item close to your torso when lifting, slowly, and turn your whole body to change direction instead of twisting at the waist. Use the same precautions when putting things down.
- Take care not to overfill yard waste bags past your capacity to move them, and use a wheelbarrow whenever possible to make moving heavy bulk less effort for your muscles. Also, keep your tools and items near you to prevent the strain of over-extending by reaching too far.
- Finally, as a reward for your hard day’s work, a heating pad or cold pack paired with a topical analgesic will do wonders for anything sore.
Soreness and pain resulting from physical labor and exercise may sometimes be indicative of strain or injury. Consider physiotherapy if your pain increases or worsens, or for strengthening exercises to support your vulnerable areas. Your physiotherapist can also suggest modifications to your work that will protect against further injury.
To help your muscles recover, you may also consider a session of massage therapy to help soothe and correct any damages you may have incurred.