I came across a useful information leaflet the other day from the British Chiropractic Association relating to gardeners and how many of them suffer with back problems. At this time of year when a lot of us are enjoying our gardens I thought it might be useful to pick out the most important advice as a timely reminder for the green-fingered among us.
It may seem unusual to think of gardening as an exercise but you should treat it as such. Have a warm up first by stretching out for a few minutes before starting off with the lighter jobs first. Launching straight into heavy work before your muscles have warmed up isn’t a good idea. Next, avoid over-reaching. If you’re pruning trees or shrubs get as close as you safely can and use a stepladder if you have to in order to comfortably do the job. If you’re lifting heavy objects such as paving slabs take care! Keep the slabs close to your body and utilise your legs to help with the lift. If you’re laying slabs it’s sometimes better to bend one knee rather than two as the supporting leg adds strength.
One of the most important pieces of advice is to take a break, usually every 30 minutes or so. When you are fatigued it’s easier to forget these tips and you are far more likely to be injured.
So get out there, work on your gardens and be proud of what you can achieve. But take care – there is nothing worse than being unable to do the things you enjoy because you’ve injured yourself. Happy gardening!