Gardening and other enjoyable outdoor activities can be hampered by back pain

The medical research related to the incidence of back pain is pretty clear; there is an 80% chance you will experience back pain at some point in your life.

The medical research is also clear on this point: physically fit people are less likely to experience a back pain episode and if they do, they recover quicker than less fit individuals.

Activities that promote movement and crate a state of relaxation and decreased stress can, therefore, be beneficial to your overall fitness levels. But what if back pain interferes with those activities?

In this article, we look at ways of helping you prevent back pain so that you can stay active.

Ways To Prevent Back Pain

The Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine reports several ways of preventing back pain during outdoor activities such as gardening and sports.

Precautions you can take to limit back pain include:

– Begin slowly, rather than trying to do too much in one session. Split larger gardening projects into several shorter sessions while you build your stamina.

– Think of it like other forms of physical activity, and always warm up before you begin with 10-20 repetitions of gentle exercises like standing hip circles, toe touches, back bends, and leg lifts. Again, gentle is the key!

– Pay attention to your body position when lifting heavy objects, such as planters and bags of fertilizer. Keep the item close to your body, and bend your knees (squat) so that you can keep your back as vertical as possible when you pick up the object, allowing you to lift with the leg muscles rather than straining the back muscles.

– Be sure to take breaks and to change your position every 15 minutes or so, especially if you are kneeling, squatting, or sitting in a bent or twisted position.

– Invest in good, long-handled gardening tools, which will help minimize the amount of back bending that you need to do.

– If back pain is a consistent problem, consider creating raised garden beds, which will also help to reduce the amount of bending that is needed.

When it comes to minimizing back pain when playing sports, much of the same advice holds true.

– It is important to always warm up, avoid over-exerting muscles, use proper equipment, , and take breaks to give your body time to rest.

– If your muscles are not very flexible, it is also important to stretch after activity, holding each stretch for 30 seconds, to gradually improve your flexibility and reduce your risk of injury.

– Consider working with a physical therapist or highly-qualified and experienced personal trainer for several weeks before starting the sports season. This will allow you to properly prepare and condition your body for sports-specific activities.

Although most episodes of back pain get better on their own, there are certain situations where you should see a physician. (Read full article)

Leave a comment below to share some of your experiences with how you avoid back pain while gardening, playing golf, tennis, or any other outdoor activity. If we get enough interest, we’ll put together a general fitness booklet to help you avoid back pain with different outdoor activities.

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