As much as gardening is an enjoyable activity during spring season, it can also put strain on your lower back leading to pain and discomfort around the hip area. The right stretches and exercises can effectively prevent hip pain from gardening. We’ve gathered quick, easy stretches, exercises and routine tweaks that will strengthen your hip flexors and prevent balancing issues or injuries.
Stretches and Exercises for Hip Flexor Pain
The hips are known as the ball-and-socket joints which get to work everytime you move your legs, as you walk, squat and do garden chores. Long periods of bending, crouching, kneeling and carrying weights can be hard on your hips. With these, it’s no surprise why hip flexor pain is common to gardeners.
Here are some easy exercises from ParentMap. These can be done from your home or at the gym. You will need appropriate weights or kettlebells for these:
The Front-Loaded Squat
This routine mimics your movements when you carry garden essentials like compost or soil amendments in front of you. The front-loaded squat helps strengthen your butt, thighs and entire core strength.
Start with little weight and work up as you gain strength. Begin the front-load routine by keeping your weight in your heels. Point the toes up toward the ceiling to ensure that your squat goes back rather than downward. Keep the lower back in alignment to the entire motion and avoiding letting your back forward the ground.
The Farmer Carry Routine
The Farmer Carry is the same as when you are carrying buckets of water or soil amendments through your garden. This is also similar to carrying groceries with both hands. As you continuously do this routine, you are strengthening your grip and forearms substantially which makes it easier to carry those gardening loads overtime. The focus of Farmer Carry is to keep your abdominal muscles tight and engaged. Hands on both sides, carry weight and walk pace back and forth. Keep the weight in control. Add weight gradually the next days of your exercise.
The Renegade Rows
This exercise mimics raking, pulling-out well-rooted weeds or starting your gas lawnmowers. The Renegade Rows helps stabilizes your core muscles so it’d be easier for you to pull those recalcitrant rocks, tangled vines and weeds. To do the Renegade Row, keep your body in straight line just like when you are doing pushups. Pull abdominal muscles in alternatively as you pull your weight up and maintain a 90-degree bend in your elbow. To make balancing easier, kick your feet about shoulder-width apart.
Warm Up and Routine Essentials for Gardeners
Warming up is very important to get your body ready for your tasks and avoid hip pain from gardening. To do a simple, quick warm up, hold hands above the head. Stretch repeatedly. Roll the shoulders forwards and backwards, doing circular movements.
Be wise with your routines around the garden. You might not know this, but they can also trigger hip flexor pain. While digging, keep your back proportioned. When on tasks where you stand or walk around, stand straight; contracting the stomach muscles for muscular support around your spine and to reduce back pains.
As for mowing, never swing sideways from the waist with your arms’ length. Keep things upright by mowing a little at a time. Lightening the loads is a sensible hip protection. Carry heavy items in lesser loads. Use a lifting trolley to lift heavy items.
Wise Routines to Avoid Hip Pain
Alternating your lifting routines helps eliminate causes of hip pain. Switch from light and heavy jobs every 10 minutes or so to give your back a time to rest. Don’t lift heavy objects immediately after long time of bending or kneeling as this could cause fatigue or injury.
Avoid prolonged, repetitive tasks; for example clipping or pruning. This puts restrains to the back. Take frequent breaks. Sit on knee pads to plant or weed. This will help on the pressure put in your hips during activities.
Get the Right Help
When hip pain becomes consistent and bothersome, it’s essential to reach out help from qualified professionals. If hip pain from gardening persists, there might be an underlying problem that needs to be addressed immediately. Arthritis, bursitis, bone problems, among others are common causes of hip pains and these conditions can be diagnosed by licensed clinicians.
Schedule a no obligation appointment with one of Sturgeon Valley’s physiotherapists and get thorough evaluation for your hip pain. You may need the right rehabilitation program to get to its roots and stop its re-occurrences.