Spring is the time of year when Cudahy and South Milwaukee residents may be found working on their lawn or garden.
There's nothing more flattering to a home than a well-kept yard, well-trimmed shrubs, and well-tended flowerbeds. Likewise, a vegetable garden that produces a bumper crop of tomatoes, turnips, and green beans is most flattering to its owner ... and a good pastime ... sometimes. Unfortunately, all too often it is painful for its participants.
Before garden buffs get up in arms and wrap a garden hose around a writer who would even suggest that working with Mother Earth could be anything but the most productive and satisfying hobby in the world, let me explain.
Gardening and landscaping are greats if you recognize that they are activities that produce certain body stresses; if you recognize your own physical limitations; and, if you do them with good sense as well as enthusiasm.
Most people hibernate all winter. Then, at the first sign of spring, try to make their lawns or gardens the most attractive on the block - all in one day. They dig, dig, dig trim, trim, trim ...lift, lift, lift ...bend, bend, bend.
The result is ouch, ouch, OUCH! Their backs hurt, their muscles ache, and they wonder why.
Although gardening does not use tremendous surges of energy or force the body into shock situations as might be required by activities like competitive sports, it should be recognized that the health threat might be just as serious. Many health disorders are the result of awkward posture positions, use of muscles not conditioned for the activity, and overindulgence. Not necessarily accidents.
This Doctor of Chiropractic offers the following "golden rules'' of gardening: - Warm up your muscles to a task a few minutes before you embark on a tough project.
- Don't bend over for long periods of time without taking standing breaks.
- Don't lift more than you can handle.
- Wear clothing that does not restrict or confine your movements.
- Wear flat, comfortable shoes that offer firm support
- Use the proper tool for each job.
- Avoid becoming overheated or chilled.
- Avoid iced drinks when overheated.
- Avoid doing your work in an awkward position.
- If you injure yourself or have aches and pains, see a health specialist immediately.
Don't let those beautiful chrysanthemums give you an ugly pain.