The weather is warming, flowers are blooming, grass in growing, and the mulch doesn’t spread itself. Whether you are a seasoned landscaper competing for a top spot on your neighborhood lawn podium, or a weed fighting newbie still trying to find your own green thumb, you are coming out of winter hibernation and getting your hands dirty. In the process, you are also introducing more physical stress to your joints than they have been used to. This time of year we typically see an increase in the number of low back pain complaints in the office. So here are my top 5 tips for you to reduce the negative effects of your hard work and save your back…
- Warm-up: Yard work can mimic a rigorous workout routine, treat it like one. A few minutes of warming up your joints and muscles will help prevent injury. Take a brisk walk, do a few of your favorite yoga poses, and maybe some lunges and high knees across the yard will do the trick.
- Lift smart: Landscaping bricks, bags of mulch, and lawn mower pull cords handled incorrectly can send you to the turf in a hurry. So when lifting, keep your back straight, bend at your hips, and lift with your legs.
- Careful bending: Rakes, hoes, and shovels have long handles for a reason. Stand up straight in good posture when you can. When you have to bend, remember that bending and twisting simultaneously is bad for your lower back. Adjust your feet so that you do not have to twist while you bend.
- Stay hydrated: It is recommended that you drink half of your body weight in ounces of water each day. Example: 150 lb. person should drink 75 oz. of water. Drink even more than that if it is hot outside. Keeping your tissues properly hydrated will prevent injury and allow for more efficient recovery.
- Pace yourself: Trying to get too much done in one day and over working yourself is a quick way to get dehydrated, lose proper posture, and get hurt.
So there are my top 5 tips for saving your back in the yard this spring. Be safe, have fun, and know that your Chiropractor has your back.