Whatever your age, fitness level or body shape, it’s never too soon or too late to start thinking about living healthily.
When it comes to gardening, the old adage that ‘no pain, no gain’ just doesn’t stick. With a little of that care and attention that you need to pay your plants if they are to provide you with the desired product, a beautiful flower bed, or a plate of sumptuous fresh beans and new potatoes can be achieved without aching knees and a sore back.
Here is some general guidance for gardening and lifting bags of compost or digging out that really persistent weed:
• Choose a lightweight, long handled garden tool
• Wear loose, comfortable and safe clothing
• Keep your back straight while lifting the soil
• Dig up a little at a time and use your body weight to lever out the soil
• Take a break every 10 – 20 minutes
• Build greenhouse workbenches to the correct height to avoid stooping (usually 2-4” below your elbow) • Choose plants for ground cover and reduce the need for continuous weeding
• Consider raised beds if you have a chronic back problem
• Think about the position of your spine when weeding – sit on a bucket, kneel on all fours, or stand with a wide stance, straight back and your elbow propped against your leg.
• Strain, twist or reach too far in front of you.
• Take huge spadefuls
• Dig continuously
• Overload the wheelbarrow
• Stretch or squat with a bent back
• Continue to use repetitive movements if they are causing you pain, e.g stop if your shoulders hurt when using shears
• Bend too far or twist to the side when starting or using the mower. Establish a neutral wrist posture and elbow angle you can comfortably maintain, and lean your weight in as leverage to help your mower overcome its inertia and get it moving across your lawn.
• Attempt to lift and carry heavy items such as boxes or tubs, always seek assistance or use a safe mechanical aid.