Gardening tips to help avoid back pain and strain.

It is not too late to plant flowers or vegetables.  Gardening can be a stress reliever, good exercise and you can enjoy the fruits of your labor with beautiful flowers and fresh, healthy veggies to eat and share.  Gardening in 2020 has been a nice diversion for me during the COVID-19 pandemic.  I would like to share some gardening tips to help you prevent back and joint pain.

  • Warm up before you begin gardening with a 5-10-minute walk followed by some simple stretches for your spine and limbs.
  • Assemble your tools.  Use long handled tools for your standing tasks such as raking, shoveling and hoeing.  Long handled tools help you maintain good upright posture.  Wear gardening gloves to help protect your hands.
  • Use a garden cart or wheelbarrow to move heavy materials such as mulch, potting soil and our gardening tools.
  • Use a pad to kneel on or sit on a simple stool to pull weeds and plant.  If you can, alternate between sitting and kneeling.
  • Change positions to avoid stiffness and muscle cramps.  When you start to feel uncomfortable it is time to change your position.  Stand up and move around.
  • Take breaks to hydrate every 15 -20 minutes.
  • Avoid twisting when moving materials.  Instead, pivot on your feet to turn to our right or left.
  • Hoeing, shoveling and raking are good whole-body activities when performed correctly.  Your abdominals will engage to stabilize your spine when you maintain an upright posture during these gardening activities.
  • An elevated planter box or container garden is a good alternative to planting in the ground.
  • Remember to use sunscreen, wear a hat and stay hydrated.  Work outside in the cool of the morning or in the evening.

Get gardening and enjoy your beautiful plants, tasty veggies and fruits while reaping the benefits of your exercise while gardening.

Leigh, PTA

Staying active!

Whether it is working, home schooling our children or just following our state and local guidelines of social distancing, we are spending more time at home due to Covid-19. We may be doing more online shopping, binge watching your favorite shows or maybe even eating more out of boredom.

There is no perfect exercise program for everyone. When we spend more time at home it can be tempting to let our fitness goals fall by the wayside. Help yourself, your family and your friends stay fit, healthy and mobile. Remember, exercise causes the brain to release endorphins that can lead to a feeling of accomplishment and relaxation. Research shows exercise can be very effective in the treatment of depression and elevating your mood. In addition, exercise can boost your immune system.

Some important tips before starting a walking program:

  • Use good posture! Pull your abdominal muscles in while walking.
  • Wear good, supportive sneakers and be sure to replace them at least once per year.
  • Start small and slow….short distances then increase as you are able.

Outdoors:

You can maintain social distancing while enjoying fresh air and sunshine. Try going for a walk around your neighborhood or for a change of scenery go to a nearby park. We are very fortunate to have so many beautiful parks and/or walking paths around our area. Bicycling, kayaking or hiking are other great ways to exercise outside.

Family/friend exercise:

Exercising with others not only holds you accountable but it is a lot more fun. It is surprising how quickly an hour of exercise goes by when walking and talking with a friend. Also, if you have young children set up obstacles (inside or out) that can include running, jumping, crawling and even balance. Dancing is also a fun activity that can be done by yourself or together with friends.

Jennifer, PTA