At the start of spring we are often motivated to get active again after the long winter. Whether it be a spare room make-over or a big tidy up in the garden, it often consists of lots of physical activity that we may not be used to. Follow these useful tips and take regular breaks to prevent extra stresses and strains on the spine:
- Keep your back straight and avoid damage by bending at the hips and knees. Don’t carry bags or boxes by their handles or at the top. Bend down, put your hands underneath the object and straighten the knee as you come up, keeping the back straight.
- Never bend and twist your back at the same time.
- Kneeling on both knees can create a rounding of the back and increase stress on the nerves and spine. Work with only one knee on the ground, keeping your back straight as possible.
- Take frequent breaks, especially if you are going to be bending forward for long periods of time.
Planting a garden or doing up the spare room isn’t just about getting your hands dirty. It involves lots of bending, twisting and lifting. By performing a few simple warm-up exercises you can significantly decrease your risk of injury.
Try these stretches, holding each for 20 seconds (keep breathing) and repeating 3 times.
- Bend forward as if touching your toes until you feel a gentle stretch in the low back and back of the legs (no bouncing!).
- Raise your clasped hands overhead. Lean to one side until you feel a stretch in the side of your trunk. Repeat on the other side.
- Place your hands on your hips. Lean back until you feel a gentle stretch in your lower back.