We Brits love our gardens. With longer days and hopefully some sunshine, garden centres up and down the country will be full of gardeners keen to buy plants, accessories and equipment. Gardeners spend a lot of time and money on their gardens and derive great satisfaction in the process.
Gardening is a great activity to be involved in and is beneficial to our health and well-being. It’s an activity that our chiropractors here at Homewood Chiropractic Clinic encourage people of all ages to get involved in. However, it does pose some risks which everyone needs to be mindful of.
Many gardening activities if not done mindfully can put our backs, muscles and joints at risk. Our chiropractors have put together some advice to help you keep your back safe when gardening:
Clothing: Wear loose fitting clothes that will not restrict your movement.
Warm Up: Like any other exercise, you need to warm up with some simple stretches before starting. Start with lighter jobs to lessen the chance of muscle strain.
Take regular breaks: Make sure you take regular breaks and spend no more than 20 -30 minutes on any one activity.
Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids to maintain your hydration levels and keep your muscles and joints healthy and active.
Break loads downs and use a trolley: If you have heavy bags of compost or other materials to carry, break the load down into smaller more manageable bags. If you have the bags in your car consider shoveling it directly into a wheelbarrow. It may be well worth investing in a garden trolley to move things around the garden – after all there will be plenty of things to move!
Use tools that will help you: Long handle tools will help prevent you from overstretching. Always position yourself as close as possible to the area you are working on to avoid aver reaching.
Using a ladder: Make sure the ladder is safely and firmly planted before climbing it. When climbing the ladder always be straight on to it, keeping your shoulders, hips and knees pointing in the same direction. Do not overstretch or overreach when on the ladder. Step down and move the ladder to a better position. It’s always worth asking someone to hold the ladder for you – accidents from ladders can be extremely nasty and unfortunately happen too frequently.
The British Chiropractic Association has produced a 3 minute video which demonstrates how to stay safe when gardening. You can watch it below.