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Chiropractic gardening tips

The benefits of gardening are not limited to better nutrition from fruits and vegetables in the diet. Recent studies have shown that digging in the dirt can reduce not only stress, but the risk of developing diseases like lung cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. In addition, a research team at the University of New South Wales has recently found that daily gardening plays a role in reducing the risk of developing dementia.

Much of these findings are associated with the increase in exercise that gardening can provide. Gardeners can burn as many calories performing some tasks as they would with other forms of exercise. For example, digging, one of the most common activities, can burn as many as 340 calories per hour, depending on the weight of the individual and the level of intensity. That’s more than light to moderate weight lifting at 204 calories per hour. The physical demands of gardening can also help build leg, arm, back, abdominal and other muscles.

Despite the dangers of too much sun from being out in the garden, exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays increases the amount of vitamin D produced in the body. One of the main benefits of Vitamin D is that it helps the body absorb calcium, which is essential for strong bones and teeth as well as the prevention of osteoporosis and other conditions.

As too much of a good thing can cause problems, it is important to exercise caution to appreciate these gardening health benefits.

Digging

When shoveling dirt (or snow, for that matter) there is a way to minimize strain and excess muscle tension. It's all about using your weight to leverage out the stuff. Other things to remember are staying in alignment (this includes the direction your shovel is facing), and moving your whole body when dumping the dirt out of the shovel. This illustrated step-by-step guide will take you through it.

 

Weeding 

There are many ways to protect your back from the effects of weeding - from sitting aids to strategies.  One of the most popular positions for extended weeding sessions is sitting on a bucket or stool. If you have knee, hip or back pain, sitting will help you avoid putting pressure onto those areas. But even sitting and weeding can take its toll on your back if you don't know how to move efficiently. Grab a bucket, sit with a wide base (legs spread) and use support when bending over to pull the weed.

 

Lifting 

When lifting, the first rule is to discipline yourself to use common sense. Many times a bag of soil is just too heavy. Enlist someone to help you. When lifting is unavoidable, make sure you bend from the hips and knees, rather than the waist. For lifting and carrying heavy weights, the hips are more powerful and better equipped to deal with the load than the back. A big key to preventing injury in the garden is to break the habit of bending at the waist when you lift.

 

Lifting a wheelbarrow

Avoid a situation that causes muscle strain by using all possible advantages when emptying a wheelbarrow. First, position yourself so that you are lifting from underneath, including using an underhanded grip. That old adage, "bend from the hips and knees, not the back" comes in especially handy here. This is because when you straighten up, you will have leverage power to use that can save your back muscles from strain and injury. Once you are straight, keep a long spine and lean your body weight in toward the wheelbarrow to tilt it and empty.   When your garden wheelbarrow is loaded with soil or other contents, and it is time to dump it out, play it smart by bending from the hips and knees before you lift. Don't use your spine for this. When you bend from the hips, you have the advantage of using very strong muscles to lift the load. By comparison, back muscles are much weaker; the structures of the spine is vulnerable to injury.

 

Lawn mowing 

Help your mower to overcome its inertia and get it moving across your lawn. You can use your body weight as leverage. But first, recognize the connection between your hands and arms, and the mower. By establishing a neutral wrist posture as well as an elbow angle you can comfortably maintain, you will set yourself up to be able to lean your weight in. This is what puts your mower into action. As always, maintain a long spine so that you can access your powerful hip and leg muscles and save your back from strain

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