10 top tips for pain-free gardening

We all know that activity in the fresh air can make us feel healthy and happy. Now the weather is warmer, getting outside and tackling the garden gives us
both physical and mental benefits.

However, frequent bending, twisting, lifting pulling and pushing can lead to back pain. This is especially true if you are less active over the winter months or spend most of your time sitting as this can lead to poor posture and a weak back.

Here are tips to avoid back pain whilst enjoying your garden:

  • Do some simple stretching exercises to warm you muscles before making a start, or take a short walk to warm up and loosen your joints.
  • Try not to completely blitz the garden in one go – focus on the time, not the task, initially aiming to spend no more than an hour or two in the garden, then gradually building up this time.
  • Take small breaks every 10-20 minutes, stopping at least hourly to have a good stretch.
  • Vary your activities from raking and digging to sowing and potting to give your muscles and joints time to rest and to engage different muscle groups
  • Use a small spade for digging and make sure your posture is correct. Dig in front of you using your foot to push the shovel into the soil. Lean into the spade from above so you’re pushing down rather than out in front of you.
  • When raking, keep your back straight and pull the rake towards your body rather than to the side.
  • Use a kneeling pad or cushion and don’t over reach. You can reduce weeding by choosing plants that offer ground cover, or cover the soil with bark or mushroom compost.
  • Never use your back muscles to lift. That should be left to the stronger muscles in your thighs and buttocks. Keep feet apart and bend from the knees keeping your back straight. Bring the object close into your body before lifting it. Going down on one knee can also be helpful.
  • Use a sensibly loaded wheelbarrow or cart to move things around the garden, (such as tools, plants etc.).
  • Remember that it’s best to ask for help rather than move heavy pots or materials on your own.

The golden rule of safe gardening applies to all activities: If something hurts, it’s nature’s way of telling you to stop.

Do you have niggling pains that limit your gardening? Osteopathy can help to alleviate aches and pains… and ensure that you enjoy your garden as much as possible. If you’ve come to this website looking for help, then get in touch now. Call me on 01799 543444 or book online.

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