10 Ways to Protect Your Back While Growing Your Garden

As winter finally fades into spring, homeowners across the Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati area will emerge from their homes eager to put energy and color into their lawns and landscape. Gardening is one of America’s favorite past times. Each year, more than 75% of Americans participate in some sort of gardening activity, and more than six million new people took up gardening last year according to The National Gardening Survey.

For many people, a day of gardening brings much-needed time outdoors and in nature. Unfortunately, gardening can also lead to several days of a sore back or even severe back pain. Gardening, while often peaceful, requires repeating the same movements for hours on end. Bending over, squatting down, leaning forward, and kneeling can all cause strain on your back, leading to discomfort or pain.

Here are 10 ways to keep your garden growing and keep your back strong and healthy:
1. Warm Up: It may sound silly to spend time warming up before gardening, but spending a few minutes walking around your neighborhood or stretching can warm up your muscles and prevent strains and aches.
2. Drink Water: Staying hydrated, especially if it is warm out, will keep your temperature regulated. And, the more you drink, the more often you will need to get up and walk to take a break. Breaking up your activity with quick rests and position changes can protect your back.
3. Lean Less: Instead of kneeling and leaning over to take care of your flowerbed, try getting into an all-fours position. Using both your hands and your knees to bear weight can reduce knee strain and enable you to keep your back straight.
4. Recognize the Signs: If you are paying attention to your body, you’ll notice when you are adding too much stress to your back. Be sure to listen to the aches and pains and take breaks to rest and recover.
5. Take Your Time: It may feel nice to get all of your gardening done in an afternoon, but it might be healthier to divide up your lawncare tasks over a few days or even weeks to prevent back and neck strains and stress.
6. Consider Raised Gardens: Gardens can come in a variety of shapes and forms, including raised beds, flower boxes, and hanging plants. There are also a variety of tower gardens available for fruits and vegetables, which can nearly eliminate the need to do backbreaking work.
7. Invest in the Right Tools: There are many back-friendly tools and extensions available to add to your existing gardening equipment. By adding length to your rakes, shovels, or weeding tools, you can more easily garden while standing.
8. Use Kneelers and Benches: Like your gardening tools, there are other accessories that are designed to help you stay healthy while caring for your flowers. Stools, kneelers, and benches can all assist your posture.
9. Move like a Toddler: Young children are born with the flexibility and know-how to perform nearly perfect lifting and squatting movements. Mimic their postures by lifting with leg strength and minimal back involvement, and squat down when you reach for something on the ground.
10. Call Alexandria Total Care Chiropractic: If something twists or turns in the wrong way, give us a call at (859) 448-0858. We can relieve your pain and discomfort with a quick, accurate assessment and hands-on treatment.

Don’t let the love of a bright, colorful yard lead to weeks of pain and aches. Practice good movements, take breaks, and use the right tools to keep your back healthy AND your garden beautiful. Remember to call Alexandria Total Care Chiropractic at (859) 448-0858 if you need help living your life without limits!