As the weather’s been warming up, many of us have been spending an increasing amount of time outside, puttering around in our gardens. Gardening is a magnificent hobby for a few different reasons—it provides you with nearly-free vegetables while you exercise and get the sunlight that you need. What other hobby provides you with that kind of return on your nominal investment?
Yes, gardening can provide a great workout, but it calls for a lot of movements that your body is probably unaccustomed to making after being stuck indoors all winter long. And you know what happens when you start working muscles that have been dormant for a little too long. That’s right; you run the risk of cramping.
Gardening is a physical activity and that means that a warm up and cool down are necessary before and afterward. The key to avoiding cramps according to Dr. Scott Bautch of the Chiropractic Association’s (ACA) Council on Occupational Health, is stretching properly. “Performing simple stretches during these periods will help alleviate injuries, pain and stiffness.”
If you want to get the most out of your garden this year, you’ve got to make sure that you’re physically capable of maintaining it. That means stretching your entire body before you even pick up a shovel. Your neck shoulders, arms, wrists, back and legs all need to be warmed up before you get to work. Here are a few stretches you can perform before gardening that can help keep your muscles from tightening up.
Warm Up Exercises
- While sitting down, begin to slowly breathe in and out. After a few breaths begin to slowly stretch your torso out from the left and then again from the right. Remember that stretching shouldn’t cause pain. You should never force a stretch.
- While continuing to sit, lift your foot about a foot off the ground (you can use a stool to hold your foot) and then lean forward until you feel your hamstring stretch. Hold the position for about 15 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.
- Stand up and balance yourself so that you can stand on one leg. Once you’re steady, grab the front of your ankle from behind and pull the heel toward your buttocks for 15 seconds before repeating on the other leg. You should look a bit like a flamingo while doing this stretch.
- Braid your fingers together above your head and then stretch them toward the ceiling with your palms up. Lean to on side for 15 seconds and then repeat on the other side. Repeat this stretch two more times.
- Wrap your arms around yourself like you’re giving yourself a big hug and then rotate your upper body as far as it will go. Hold for 15 seconds and then reverse.
Summertime is here and with the warmer temperatures comes the increased need for chiropractic care. If you want to ensure that your body’s in tip top shape this year, contact your chiropractic team. They’ll help you stay strong and healthy so you can work and play as hard as you’d like this season.
This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.