It's SPRINGtime! Get out to the garden…safely!

It’s SPRINGtime! Get out to the garden…safely!

Posted April 11, 2012 by backsafe®

It is that time of year when the veil of winter gives way to sunshine and the growing season.

Digging, wheel barrowing, lifting bags of soil amendments, etc., even for the well conditioned athlete, can if not done correctly, cause back pain and injury.



Tips for shoveling:

Have the right tools

Digging with a proper shovel can make a big difference.  Make sure you use a shovel that is light and has a long handle so you can shovel in a more upright position.  Remember, not only are you lifting the dirt, but you have the weight of the shovel and yes, even your arms that contribute to the resulting force on your spine.

Know your spine

You have 3 curves in your spine.  When shoveling try to maintain those curves, in other words, keep your back as straight as you can.  Bending at the waist while lifting a shovel full of soil puts undue pressure on your low back.  A trick to help you is when lifting, keep your head up.  You don’t have to look at the sky, just keep your head in a neutral or straight forward posture.  This will help keep your back straight and make you use your bigger and more powerful leg muscles more.  Lastly, never twist when shoveling.  Always aim your “drop” zone at either the 10 or 2 o’clock position.  Never shovel to your side (9 or 3 o’clock position) or behind you.

Working around the yard can be invigorating and even good for your muscles if you do it correctly.  In fact, when done correctly can be a good physical activity.

After You’re Done…

A thorough stretch can’t be understated in terms of benefits!  You’ve worked your body hard, it likes a moment to regroup!  Take a moment to survey the effects you’ve just created, take some deep breaths and stretch those muscles to help avoid soreness the next day.