The secret to pain-free gardening is to warm up before, and to stretch out afterwards. If you face gardening like a sport, then you will ease through the spring and into the summer with little pain, discomfort and stiffness.
Here is the recipe for pain-free gardening:
- A brisk walk around the neighbourhood for 5 minutes will get the muscles and joints warmed up.
- 10 slow gentle squats to get your legs ready for action.
- Gently and slowly bend forwards and backwards, side to side, and rotate your trunk 5 times to get your back warmed up.
- Reach your arms to the sky with your arms 5 times to get your arms ready for action.
- Your muscles and joints are warmed up and ready for action. Keep in mind to always tuck your tummy in as you bend down to do any lifting, this contracts your Transverse Abdominis (TA) muscle that will help brace your spine and get it ready for the load.
- If you are raking, make sure to do your transverse abdominis contraction, and a lunging reach back and forth with your legs and the rake to reduce load on your spine.
- Keep hydrated, drink lots of water, especially if you are sweating lots on a hot day.
- Take breaks, especially if you feel short of breath, or you are experiencing some pain.
- Stretch out your tired muscles at the end of your gardening.
- Most importantly have FUN! You will be enjoying the “fruits of your labour” soon. There is nothing better than fresh garden picked vegetables and berries!