The physicality of garden work ... any time of year
Using the right moves can go a long way to enabling you to plant and rake without the ache. Positioning your body correctly reduces the strain on muscles and joints. So use these tips to enjoy the gardening season from beginning to end.
• Alternate your tasks. Switch between heavy chores such as digging and lighter, less physically demanding tasks such as planting.
• Do the ʻ scissors ʼ when you rake. Stand with one leg forward and one leg back when you rake. Switch legs and hands every few minutes.
• Kneel to plant and weed. Constant bending can put strain on your back, neck and leg muscles and joints, so kneeling is recommended. Use kneepads or a kneeling mat ( with handles) to minimize the amount of bending required, and to make kneeling more comfortable. Keep your back straight.
• Change positions frequently. Make a point of changing position every 10 to 15 minutes. Move from kneeling to standing, from planting to digging.
• Pace Yourself. A minimum of three brief breaks each hour is recommended. Take a few moments to move around, stretch your muscles, have a drink or simply sit and relax. Spread the work over several days - you will still achieve the same great results.
For more information about the Plant and Rake Gardening Program visit the public education programs and material section of the Ontario Chiropractic Association Web site at www. chiropractic. on. ca