Gardening is a great way to connect with nature and help relieve stress while enjoying the fruits of your labor. For many people, however, gardening can lead to back pain at the end of the day.
If you enjoy being outdoors and working in your yard or garden, you should not end up flat on your back and in misery; this defeats the purpose of gardening to relax and relieve stress. Next time, try one of these 5 tips to avoid back pain in the garden.
Start with a Warmup
If you've been indulging in a sedentary indoor life most of winter or spring, now is not the time to suddenly accomplish all of your gardening in one weekend. If your body is not accustomed to the physical labor associated with gardening or yard work, you will end up with more than just a sore back. Your arms, legs, shoulders and neck will also hurt unless you start with a warmup.
Instead of getting everything done in just a couple of days, start by doing shorter, easier tasks like pruning or trimming a few hedges or trees. Focus on several small projects each weekend or break a big job, like mowing the yard, into several manageable phases such as mowing the front yard one week, and then the back yard the following week.
Time Your Labors
Even if you remain seated on the edge of a raised bed planting spring vegetables, staying outdoors for 12 hours straight is still exhausting and can hurt your back. Rather than completing everything in an all-day marathon, time your labors by breaking your job into 30 minute intervals.
After each 30 minute work period, take a break by sitting in a relaxing position that offers good back support. Sit in a comfortable chair instead of trying to perch on the edge of a nearby retaining wall. By limiting the time you work and taking frequent breaks, you'll be able to accomplish more with less chance of ending up with a sore back.
Vary What You Do
It may be tempting to stay and pull all those tall weeds along the back fence before moving on to something else, but this is a bad idea. Staying in one position to do the same repetitive task such as bending over to pull weeds is going to hurt.
Rather than focus on one chore, vary what you are doing outside. After a few minutes of bending over to pull weeds, change your position and squat, dig, lift, carry or pull. By varying what you do, you end up engaging different muscles in your body while providing rest for other muscles at the same time.
Hire a Neighbor Kid
A great way to avoid back pain from gardening is by hiring someone else to do it for you, like a neighbor kid or teen. Some kids really do still like working to earn money, and this gives them that opportunity while providing you with needed relief.
You can still stay outside and assist, or just point and direct your helper. Either way, you are still involved and can watch what's unfolding in your garden. Plus, this is a great chance to get to know the kids in your neighborhood.
Remember to Cool Down
When you're finished in your garden for the day, it's inviting to lay motionless face down in the grass. This is not a good way to cool down, and can bring on sore, tight muscles. It's a better idea to cool down by going for a small walk around the block. This helps your tired muscles loosen up.
Follow these 5 tips to enjoy gardening without bringing on the back pain. For more help with back pain, talk to the pain experts at Integrated Spinal Solutions.