A: While bending, reaching and digging in the garden can provide a great workout, it can also cause you to get hurt. Stretching before and after gardening activities is just as important as it is for sports: warming up your muscles before going out helps to reduce the stress and strain on your joints and muscles, reducing injury.
• Stand up and prop your heel on a back door step or stool with your knee straight. Bend forward until you feel a slight pull in the muscle the back of the thigh (hamstring). Hold for 20 seconds. Do the stretch once more and repeat again on the other leg.
• Stand up and put your right hand against a wall or other stable surface. Bend your left knee and grab your ankle with your left hand. Pull your heel toward your buttocks to stretch the quadriceps muscles at the front of your thigh. Hold for 20 seconds. Do the stretch once more and repeat again on the other leg.
• Weave your fingers together above your head with your palms up. Lean to one side for 10 seconds to stretch the upper body, then reverse. Repeat three times.
• Bend your knees to lift: When lifting, keep your back straight and bend your knees. Always carry the load close to your body; avoid twisting.
• Use the right tools and moves for the job. Kneel to plant and change positions frequently. Use ergonomically-designed, long-handled, lightweight tools. If your pains persist, consider visiting a doctor of chiropractic.
Information provided by Williamson Chiropractic, 206 S. Main St., 986-9189.