Growing Pains (in the Garden)

In a way, gardening is humanity’s pastime.  Agriculture allowed us to establish society as we know it today, and farming is still massively important today.  Tons of people also do their own gardening, sometimes just to spruce up their home, and other times to plant and grow their own food.  Whatever the case, gardening is hard work!  Pulling weeds, digging, carrying bags of soil, combined with hours of time spent crawling around on your hands and knees or stooped over can really wear someone down.

When spring time rolls around, gardens are usually in rough shape and need lots of TLC.  So people want to really dig in and spend hours and hours in their gardens cleaning things up.  And, oftentimes, they end super sore or even injured.

When it comes to huge projects like a garden, being aware of your normal physical activity is important so you know how much activity you can tolerate without pushing yourself too far.  The best idea is to plan ahead and keep up with physical activity throughout the year (you are doing that, right?).  It’s no different than planting a seed so you can reap the rewards later.

In case you haven’t been keeping up with some level of activity, here are some ways to help you ease in to gardening, or any other larger home project.

  • Warm up – Spend some time getting yourself ready.  If you’re not normally lifting 50 pound bags of dirt or kneeling over digging, you need to get your body used to doing so.  Here’s another article about warm ups to help you figure out what you need to do.
  • Break up your time – If you know what needs to be done, plan ahead.  Spending excessive amounts of time in unfamiliar positions is a great way to get sore, so alternate tasks (if able) or simply just take 5-10 minute breaks every hour to do some light stretching movements in the opposite direction you’re spending most of your time.  An example would be to do some overhead reaching or back bending after pulling weeds.
  • Cool down – Take some time to do some self massage (or trade massages with your gardening buddies) and do some light stretching (again, move in directions to reverse the postures you just spent hours working).  It’s best to cool down right after, but it wouldn’t a bad idea to do so again before you sleep that night (hint:  do it again before you go to sleep).

Gardening, and doing most DIY projects in general, can be pretty hard work.  You can replace soil, but you only get one body!  So before you dig in, make sure you take time for yourself so you can enjoy all the hard work you’re about to do!

Got questions?  Feel limited in what you’re able to do?  The staff at Limitless Physical Therapy in Eugene, OR can show you how to be limitless. Contact us to connect with on of our PTs. Or follow us on Facebook.

***The above information, including text, images, and all other materials, is provided for educational purposes only, and not as a replacement or supplement to professional medical advice.  Please contact a certified healthcare professional or your primary physician for any personal concerns.

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