The art of gardening offers beauty to our surroundings and a unique sense of satisfaction and peace.
However, many passionate gardeners often experience a common adversary: lower back pain.
As a result, the very activity they love can become a source of discomfort. The good news is it’s possible to prevent lower back pain! Try implementing these stretches and exercises to crush your lower back pain before it starts.
The Seed of the Problem: Why Does Gardening Cause Lower Back Pain?
Prolonged periods of bending, stooping, or kneeling that are inherent to gardening can put significant strain on the lower back. These activities can lead to muscle imbalance and weakness, creating vulnerability to injury.
But wait to hang up your gardening gloves. You still deserve to enjoy gardening without pain by incorporating simple preventative measures like proper stretching and exercise.
Planting the Solution: Stretches to Prevent Lower Back Pain
When performed correctly, the following stretches can increase flexibility and strength, helping to prevent lower back pain. Remember, holding these stretches for at least 15-30 seconds and repeating them two or three times is important.
This restorative yoga pose targets your lower back and hips, giving them a gentle yet effective stretch.
To perform this pose, position yourself on your hands and knees, forming a tabletop position. Gradually sit back onto your heels, moving your hands forwards as you do so. Lower your chest towards the ground while extending your arms fully in front of you.
Ensure your forehead is resting on the mat, and relax your shoulders. Breathe deeply, allowing the stretch to reach your lower back, and hold for up to a minute. This pose can also help alleviate tension and stress.
This simple yet potent stretch can help loosen your lower back muscles.
To begin, lay down on a firm and comfortable surface, resting on your back. While placing your feet flat and firmly on the floor, bend your knees. Gently bring one knee towards your chest, using your hands to hold it in place. Remember to keep your other foot firmly on the ground while holding the stretch.
You’ll feel it in your lower back and glutes, and when you do, hold for 20-30 seconds. Release and slowly lower your knee so you can repeat with your other leg.
The spinal twist can help alleviate tension in the lower back and enhance spinal mobility.
Begin by lying on your back, drawing your knees into your chest. For a ‘T’ shape on either side of your body by extending your arms out. While keeping your shoulders firmly on the ground, slowly lower your knees to one side, creating a twisting motion in your spine while turning your head the opposite way.
Hold for 15-30 seconds, then gently return to the starting position and prepare for the other side.
The Root of Strength: Exercises to Combat Lower Back Pain
Regular exercise targeting your core and lower back can significantly help prevent lower back pain.
Bridges strengthen your core muscles that support your spine, and your lower back.
Lay on your back with your feet positioned hip-width apart and your knees bent, resting flat on the ground. Extend your arms by your side, palms facing down. Then, lift your hips off the floor while aiming to create a straight line all the way from your knees to your shoulders by engaging your core.
Keep your shoulders on the ground and squeeze your glutes at the top. Hold for a few seconds before lowering slowly. Repeat for 10-15 reps.
The Superman exercise is a potent strategy for strengthening both your upper and lower back.
To execute this movement, start by positioning yourself flat on your belly. Extend your arms straight ahead and keep your legs lengthened behind you. Mimicking the flight of Superman, engage your back and lift both your arms and legs from the ground simultaneously. Be sure to keep your arms stretched straight in front as you do this.
While carrying out this exercise, remember to maintain a neutral neck position by keeping your gaze down towards the floor. Hold this raised position for a minimum of 30 seconds, then gently lower your body back down. Your aim should be to complete 10-15 repetitions of this exercise.
Partial crunches are an effective way to work your core and back muscles, offering strength without placing undue strain on your lower back.
Start this exercise by laying flat on your back. Bend your knees and place your feet securely on the ground. You can cross your arms over your chest or position them behind your head, choose whichever feels more comfortable for you. Engage your abdominal muscles as you gently raise your shoulders from the floor. Remember, this is not a full sit-up exercise, rather the goal is to lift your shoulders just a few inches off the ground.
At the top of the crunch, pause briefly, then methodically lower yourself back down. Continue this movement for 10-15 reps, ensuring to maintain a slow and controlled rhythm throughout the exercise.
The Blossom of Prevention: Proper Gardening Techniques
In addition to these exercises and stretches, incorporating proper gardening techniques can help prevent lower back pain:
- Use a gardening stool or kneeler to reduce the amount of bending
- Invest in long-handled tools to avoid excessive stooping
- Practice proper lifting techniques: use your knees, not your back
Blooming Into a Pain-Free Garden
Ensuring a pain-free gardening experience requires more than just tending to your plants; it also involves taking care of your body. Incorporate these stretches and exercises into your daily routine to prevent lower back pain. Regular physical activity will strengthen your lower back and core and improve your overall health, making gardening a joy rather than a chore.
At Peak Physique, we understand the physical demands that gardening can put on your body. We’re here to guide you with the right exercises and stretches to ensure you continue enjoying your gardening passion without the pain. Remember, a healthy gardener is a happy gardener!
If you’re still struggling with lower back pain, or need more help with performing these exercises, contact Peak Physique today! We’ve helped many people reach their fitness goals and can’t wait to help you too.