Pain free gardening

Gardening, bean sprouting

Springtime and if you have a garden, allotment, patio or plants on your balcony suddenly there seems loads to do. Physically and emotionally it’s a fantastic boost and looking at the results can be really satisfying however it's easy to lose track of time and overdo the gardening and ouch you have wobbly legs and a stiff lower back. Take it slowly and carefully for pain free gardening

Before starting take a short walk or do some simple stretching exercises to warm your muscles and loosen your joints.

Aim to spend no more than an hour or two in the garden when you first start, build up the time slowly.

Take small, regular breaks every 10 - 20 minutes, and stop at least once every hour to have a good stretch and try varying your tasks regularly to reduce the amount of time you spend using the same set of muscles.

Make sure your digging posture is correct. Use a smaller spade dig in front of you and use your foot to push the shovel into the soil, leaning into it from above so you're pushing down rather than out in front of you. Then bend your knees when you're lifting up the soil.

When raking, try to keep your back straight and pull the rake towards your body rather than to the side, as this helps to reduce twisting movements.

Use a kneeling pad or an old cushion when you're planting to avoid bending down too far, and take regular breaks to do stretch your back.

Bend from the knees, not from the waist, when lifting a large or heavy object try stand the object upright, position feet shoulder-width apart, close to the object, squat or bend at the knees, tighten stomach muscles, roll the object onto bent knees and then up into arms, hold the object close to your body so that the thigh muscles are doing most of the work, and slowly lift by straightening knees. Reverse to lower loads. Avoid bending and twisting at the same time, that can lead to unhappy lower backs.

Putting in raised beds can help if constant bending is difficult.

Happy pain free gardening

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