Gardening and Your Back

It’s that time of year again! The snow has melted, the frost is gone. Time to get outside and start cleaning up, but be careful. Raking, lifting, digging, kneeling, planting – this is enough activity to challenge any athlete. Gardening and yard work may not be Olympic sports, but they are strenuous physical activities. In a recent poll, 88 per cent of Ontario chiropractors indicated that working in the garden and yard were the most common sources of neck and back pain they treat during the warm weather season.

To help you enjoy the fruits of your labour during this yard and gardening season, we recommend you keep these tips in mind:

Stretch out before you head out. Light to moderate gardening can burn between 300 to 400 calories an hour, compared to the 40 calories an hour while sitting quietly. So take the time to prepare your body for activity, always warm-up and cool down your muscles. Add a short walk and you’ll have topped off your routine with overall conditioning. Now you’re ready for your open-air workout!

Use good technique while lifting. Keep the load close to your body, your back straight and bend your knees while picking up and putting down the load. Avoid twisting, and get a buddy to give a hand with heavy, awkward loads.

Use the right tools and moves. The right moves can reduce the strain on your body; alternate your tasks, kneel to plant and weed, change positions frequently and most importantly pace yourself. Moving correctly and using the right tools go hand-in-hand. Work with ease in your garden and yard, always make sure that tools are a comfortable weight and size for you. There are many ergonomically designed tools which are light-weight with long padded handles and spring action mechanisms which can reduce strain and effort.

You’ve completed a gold medal performance, take a break! Get-up, move around, alternate tasks, repeat your stretch routine or sit back, relax and have a cool drink. Try not to overexert yourself, and take three brief breaks at least once every hour. Give yourself a breather… Your back will thank you!

If you have back or muscle pain that lasts more than 48-hours without improvement, call to speak to Dr. Ted and he will be able to help you out.

Spring Time Circuit Workout

A great indoor workout to do while we wait to thaw out. This circuit can be done for the next four weeks 3 times per week.

Each exercise is to be done for 60 seconds. Take 15 seconds between each exercise and a 2 minute rest at the end of the set. Repeat 2 more times. It is very important to maintain proper form for each exercise.

1. Body Squat

2. Mountain Climber

3. Lunge

4. Pushup

5. Side Squat

6. Side Bridge (30 seconds each side)

7. Squat Jump

 

Please consult your chiropractor or MD before beginning this or any exercise program.

Learn to Run Beginner Program

Fall is a great time to start a running program! The air is crisp and clear, the trails are dry and firm. If you are new to running below you will find a 10 week program that consists of a total workout time of 20 minutes.

In order for you to get the most out of this program, you should follow the schedule at least 3 times per week. By being physically active at least 3 times per week you will be running for 20 consecutive minutes in no time!

To make sure you are not working too hard, whether you are running or walking, it should be done at a conversational pace, meaning that you can easily talk while engaging in the activity.

– Before beginning this program or any other please first consult with your chiropractor or medical doctor.

Week

 

Run-Walk Ratio (20 Minutes Total)

Total Run Time

1

Run   1 minute, walk 2 minutes – do 6 sets, followed by running 1 minute

7 min

 

2

Run   1 minute, walk 1 minute – do 10 sets

10 min

3

Run   2 minutes, walk 1 minute – do 6 sets, followed by running 2 minutes

14 min

 

4

Run   3 minutes, walk 1 minute – do 5 sets

15 min

5

Run   4 minutes, walk 1 minute – 4 sets

16 min

6

Run   5 minutes, walk 1 minute – do 3 sets, followed by running 2 minutes

17 min

 

7

Run   6 minutes, walk 1 minute – do 3 sets

18 min

8

Run   8 minutes, walk 1 minute – do 2 sets, followed by running 2 minutes

18 min

9

Run   10 minutes, walk 1 minute – do 2 sets

20 min

10

Run   20 minutes non-stop

20 min

Pack it Light. Wear it Right.

Kids and backpacks just seem to go together. Whether you are heading out on holiday with the kids or sending them off to school, chances are they’ll be packing a backpack.

You have your own load too, whether it’s a fashionable new purse or a suitcase packed to bursting.  Knowing how to choose, pack and lift backpacks, shoulder bags and luggage can prevent them from becoming a pain in the back.

This common-sense guide will spare your back:

BACKPACKS

Choose carefully: Go for lightweight vinyl or canvas. Pick a pack that has two wide, adjustable and padded shoulder straps, along with a hip or waist strap, a padded back and plenty of pockets.

Pack it properly: Make sure the backpack contains only what is needed for the day or the activity. Distribute the weight of the contents evenly. The total weight of the filled pack should be no more than 10 to 15 per cent of the wearer’s body weight.

Wear it right: Both shoulder straps should always be used, and adjusted so that the pack fits snugly to the body without dangling to the side. Never sling a backpack over one shoulder.  You should be able to slide a hand between the backpack and the carrier’s back.

It’s a fact! More than 50 per cent of young people experience at least one episode of low back pain by their teenage years. Research indicates one cause is improper use of backpacks. So pack it light and wear it right!

SHOULDER BAGS

Choosing a Shoulder Bag: Whether your bag is a purse or home to your laptop, choose one with a wide, padded adjustable shoulder strap.

Packing a Shoulder Bag: Divide the contents among multiple pockets to help distribute the weight and keep items from shifting. Your bag should not weigh more than 10 to 15 per cent of your body weight.

Carrying a Shoulder Bag: Don’t always carry your bag on the same shoulder, switch sides often so that each shoulder gets a rest. Try not to lift the shoulder on which the purse is carried, ideally wear the strap across your chest.

LUGGAGE

Choosing Luggage: Look for sturdy, light, high-quality and transportable pieces. Avoid purchasing luggage that is already too heavy when empty. Choose a bag with wheels and an adjustable handle when possible.

Packing Luggage: Over-packing is a pitfall. Ensure your luggage is never too heavy for you to pick up.

Lifting Luggage: Place carry-on luggage into the overhead compartment by first lifting it onto the top of the seat. Use your knees, not your back to lift!

The Last Word: Carrying a heavy load that is poorly distributed can cause a number of problems including muscle strain, headaches, neck, back and arm pain, and even nerve damage. It pays to pack it light and wear it right. (1)

(1) Article taken from the Ontario Chiropractic Association.

Exercise as a Prescription

A very interesting article posted in the CBC today about a medical doctor prescribing more exercise and less medication for his patients. This is something I have been doing in my practice for years. Movement is the key to health.

Click the link below to read the whole article.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/winnipeg-doctor-kevin-saunders-writing-prescriptions-for-exercise-1.3048315