The weather is warm and the rain is plentiful. People are tending yards and gardens feverishly as the grass and plants grow as fast as we can care for them. Along with this bending, twisting, lifting, sweating, gripping, pulling, etc., come the aches and pains of wear and tear on the gardener's body. It is noteworthy that the green thumb is attached to back, arm, and leg muscles.
Gardening is fun and rewarding , however, and as your chiropractor, I need to find ways to keep you doing what excites you. My philosophy here is "happy = healthy." So, here are some tips:
• To prepare for stretching, breathe in and out, slowly and rhythmically; do not bounce or jerk your body, and stretch as far and as comfortably as you can. Forget the no pain, no gain rule. Stretching should not be painful.
• While sitting, prop your heel on a stool or step, keeping the knees straight. Lean forward until you feel a stretch in the back of the thigh, or the hamstring muscle. Hold this position for 15 seconds. Do this once more and repeat with the other leg. Again, if it hurts, back off and take it slowly. Stretching here may prevent injury or misalignment in the pelvis.
• Stand up, balance yourself, and grab the front of your ankle from behind. Pull your heel towards your buttocks and hold the position for 15 seconds. Do this again and repeat with the other leg.
• While standing, weave your fingers together above your head with the palms up. Lean to one side for 10 seconds, then to the other. Repeat this stretch three times.
• Do the "Hug your best friend." Wrap your arms around yourself and rotate to one side, stretching as far as you can comfortably go. Hold for 10 seconds and reverse. Repeat two or three times.
• Especially if you are a senior, watch carefully for holes in the ground. Falls are common among those of us over 65, and consequences can be devastating. If you are not steady on your feet, don't be too proud to use a cane or walker. It is less confining than a hospital bed. Keep your cell phone on you for emergencies.
Pace yourself. Drink plenty of water. Draft a friend, child, or spouse so you have someone to talk to or assist. Work in morning or evening to avoid the heat. Use the right tools to maximize leverage where possible. Work smart.
When it's all over, relax and enjoy what you've created. If you injure something, call me. I am here to keep you doing what you enjoy most.