Michael Perry, M.D., medical director of Laser Spine Institute, the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery, has put together this list of tips:
- Keep warm: Don’t let your muscles get cold. It’s important to prepare your muscles regardless of your activity. Take 15 to 20 minutes before you start gardening to stretch your muscles to help keep them limber and warm.
- Take your time: This will enable you to fully appreciate the nature around you, reflect on your life, and keep you from injuring yourself.
- Consider your posture: Make sure you use your core muscles to support your back and try not to hunch.
- Get some cushion: The ground is tough, there’s no need to ruin your knees on hard soil. Use a knee pad for added support and cushion. This will also help to alleviate low back pain while gardening.
- Use proper lifting: If what you’re lifting is more than 10 to 20 pounds, you should use a wheelbarrow to help displace some of the weight. Make sure you don’t overburden your back by lifting heavy items.
- Switch it up: Don’t use just one side of your body to do all the heavy lifting. Make sure you transfer the shovel to your other arm every once in a while.