Tips for Gardening without back painApril 9 2021
Spring has sprung and it’s time to start sprucing up the garden.
Gardening can help reduce stress and anxiety which is great news but we also need to be mindful that long periods of garden maintenance can take its toll on your back and joints. Don’t rush to get everything spick and span all at once, take your time and ensure you stay pain free to enjoy your garden. We have some advice to make sure you take care of your back as well as your plants!
Clothing- Don’t wear tight or restrictive clothing, make sure you can move around freely. Be mindful of the sun! Make sure you wear a hat and sun screen; you don’t want sunburn spoiling your day.
Warm up- Think of gardening as a workout and warm up your muscles and joints before you start. A brisk 5-minute walk and some gentle stretches will work well. Your chiropractor can offer advice on the right exercises for you. To lessen the chance of muscle strain, start off with lighter jobs and move to heavier jobs once you have warmed up.
Minimise lifting – Consider using a wheel barrow or other lifting aid to carry heavy items around the garden. Only fill watering cans half way. If you are lifting, bend at the knees not the waist. Use both hands to hold objects and keep it as close to your body as possible.
Use the right tools- Long handled tools such as trowels and secateurs can help you access high and hard to reach areas. If you are using a ladder, make sure you are always facing it, keep your shoulders, hips and knees pointing in the same direction. Avoid leaning and reaching by moving the ladder frequently to when you need to work. Remember ladders must be firmly and safely in position, if possible have someone with you to keep an eye on things.
Shopping for heavy items- If you are visiting the garden centre or DIY store for heavy items such as compost or cement, consider buying smaller bags rather than bigger bags to make them safer to transport and carry. If you do buy heavy items, use a trolley and if you are on your own ask for a store assistant to help you. If you are having items delivered ask for them to be unloaded as close as possible to where they are needed, this will save you moving them again.
Time for a break- don’t spend more than 20-30 minutes on any one thing and take regular breaks to sit back and admire your handy work!