There is the idea that you can garden to become fit when you really need to be fit to garden!
When we treat gardening like leisure time the physical loads we carry, shovel, load, bend, twist, and pull are risk factors for low back pain. Strong evidence exists that many gardeners overdo it and end up requiring treatment for a host of injuries including gardeners’ back, hedge shoulder, weeder’s wrist, pruner’s neck, kneelers knee, and more.
Let’s face it, gardeners get the job done one way or the other. Although we all benefit from their labor of love, if you see yourself in this picture I suggest you read on to keep the green thumb alive and moving well!
I asked Dr. Olson from Edgemont Chiropractic if there was a similarity between gardening injuries and the snow shoveling injuries he sees in the winter. “Yes, there is – it’s a strength, fitness, and lack of awareness on how to move properly, the way the body was designed to move,” states Dr. Olson. “Overdoing it the first time out is something we often see in the clinic, then patients end up being sore the majority of the summer, limiting the gardening they can actually do!”
The rules for proper movement and safely loaded training in the fitness and gym environment apply to the gardener as well. Gardening is a dangerous sport and often leads to back injuries as well as repetitive stress injuries to many other parts of the body. Didn’t we mention hands, wrists, elbow, shoulder, hip, and knees already?
So people are good at over-doing it and then end up on the doctor’s doorstep for the fix. It’s easy to get in the zone to get things done but preparing yourself to be stronger and move well as an overarching principle for your life will reduce the risk of injury, pain, and downtime from doing the things that you love.
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