Fall Back: Natural Remedies for Garden Pain
Who doesn’t love fall? The air is crisp, the leaves are changing colours, and gardens are giving off their last hurrah before being hushed by dropping temperatures. For many of us, autumn also means tidying up our yards, planting fall bulbs, and of course, raking! While gardening is good for our physical, mental, and spiritual health, it’s also an easy way to sustain injuries, especially when we overdo it. But with a little know-how, you can prevent those aches and pains and get back to enjoying some quality nature time!
Like warming up before any physical activity, loosening up before you start gardening is a good idea. Take a walk around the neighbourhood—also a great way to get plant inspiration! A quick 10 to 15-minute jaunt can get you warmed up and ready to plunge into that pile of leaves. Don’t forget to lift your knees and gently swing your arms while walking. Also pay attention to your breathing by focusing on your inhalations and exhalations. While it seems like a no-brainer, many people hold their breath while exercising.
Before grabbing that rake and donning your gardening gloves, make sure to also do a little light stretching, focusing on the body parts that you’ll be using during your session.
Lean your head back, looking up toward the sky with your jaw closed. Place your left hand on your right ear and slowly guide your left ear to your shoulder. Hold for a few seconds, then repeat with the other side.
Reach your left arm across your body as if you are grabbing your opposite shoulder and use your right hand to gently grasp the left elbow and deepen the stretch. Hold for a few seconds and repeat with right arm.
Extend your arms out in front of your body and clasp your hands together. Round the shoulders while pushing forward with the hands. Hold for 15 seconds. Grasp both hands behind your back and try to lift them up toward your head as high as you can while keeping your back straight. Hold for 15 seconds.
In a seated position, bend forward from the hips, keeping your head down. Reach for the ground. Hold for 10 seconds and return to upright seated position.
Alternate extending the wrist then gently flexing it while keeping the elbow straight.
Standing, lift your right foot toward your buttocks and grasp it with your right hand. Pull your foot in to the back of your thigh and hold for 15 seconds. Repeat for the left leg. Support yourself by holding on to a wall or tree if necessary.
Stand facing a step. Lift your right leg and place on step. Slowly lunge forward until you feel a stretch behind your knee and thigh. Bend through your hips and not your spine. Hold, then return to starting position and repeat for the left leg.
Once you’ve begun tackling your yard, follow these tips to make sure it doesn’t tackle you back!
Break it up
It’s easy to lose track of time when focused on a task, and before you know it, you’ve been raking or have been hunched over your perennial bed for an hour! To keep yourself on track, set a timer before you begin and take a break every 15–20 minutes to stand up, stretch, and walk around a bit.
Proper posture is knee-ded!
Instead of bending over at the waist to plant, get right down in the plants! Kneeling when planting means less strain on your back.
Wet your whistle while you work
Hydration is always important, but especially when you are physically active. Keep a bottle of water with you and make sure to pause for a drink when you take your breaks.
While gardening can be meditative, it’s important to listen to your body. Do not ignore any pains and aches. If you are not in a comfortable position or you feel a tweak, have a stretch and change positions.
Mix it up
By keeping things fresh and changing up tasks often, you can ensure that you’re not in one position for too long. Alternate between light and heavy chores.
Take a breath
Deep breathing increases the circulation in your body, so make sure to include some deep inhalations and exhalations on your breaks too!
Gardening can be a lot of work, but it’s definitely worth it! Using the right moves lightens the load on your back and diminishes your risk of injury. Warming up and stretching, kneeling to plant, changing your body position often, and taking frequent breaks can ensure the time spent in the garden remains the pleasure it’s meant to be!