Gardening can be great, but make sure you move properly to avoid injury. (submitted)

Carl Weber column: Back in motion

Begin gardening slowly. Listen to your body.

By Carl Weber

It’s spring! And that means working outdoors around the house. Gardening can involve the best of every world from the pleasure of the outdoors and healthy exercise to the creative welcoming of spring. Done improperly, too long or too often, you can end up very sore or even worse, laid up for weeks. To enhance your enjoyment of gardening and to ensure the health of your spine, here are a few tips:

Begin gardening slowly. Listen to your body.

Do a few stretches or take a hot shower before you begin in order to warm up.

Try to use both sides of your body. For example, twist right and left when shovelling and use both your dominant and non-dominant hands as equally as possible.

Drink water before, during and after gardening to avoid dehydration.

Wear long sleeves, sunglasses and a sunhat to keep your sun exposure minimal.

Kneel using knee pads or an old blanket instead of standing and bending forwards.

While standing, move your feet in the intended direction before twisting with a load.

Switch tasks frequently to vary the repetitive strain. Try to use ergonomically favourable tools.

Use a wheelbarrow for the heavier items and to keep your tools elevated for ease of use.

Enjoy the upcoming warmth and excitement of spring. Treasure the memories you’re creating with family and friends. Be safe and happy gardening!

Aloha and peace, Carl

Dr. Carl Weber, B.P.E. (Hon), DC, is a chiropractor at Lake Cowichan Chiropractic, 85 Darnell Rd. Contact them at 250-749-3393 or check the out on the internet at

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