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Caring for your back whilst gardening

Publish date: 16/01/2017

Caring for your back whilst gardening

Many tasks around the garden involve prolonged activities of a repetitive nature that may lead to aches and pains.

To avoid strain, use the “little and often” principle or try switching from one task to another that uses a different group of muscles.

Avoid prolonged periods of:

  • gripping or repetitive jarring.
  • Bending or digging.

Try some warm-up exercises to prepare your muscles for the hard work. Kneeling or sitting back on your heels, (even with a kneeling mat).

Many gardening injuries occur carrying heavy and frequently used equipment in and out of storage places. Here’s some handy tips to help avoid injuries

  • Make sure storage areas are easily accessible and avoid things like steps and tight corners.
  • Try to avoid working in a reaching position, (e.g. do not hold hedge trimmers or shears too far in front of you).
  • When bending, digging and lifting keep your back straight and bend your knees.
  • Always try out tools for lightness and balance before buying them.
  • Reduce the effort of hoeing and pruning by making sure the blades on your hoe and secateurs are sharp.
  • Handles of tools such as spades, shears, rakes and hoes should preferably be long.
  • Ladies size forks and spades are lighter and easier to manage.

Take a break every 10-20 minutes or between every change of task.

  • Mow grass while it is short.
  • Hoe weeds when they are young and easy to deal with.
  • Use a spade with a small blade to avoid the temptation of digging large spadefulls.
  • Use raised flower beds to reduce bending when tending them.
  • Place hoses strategically around the garden rather than carrying buckets and watering cans.
  • Build your greenhouse workbenches to the correct height to avoid bending (5-10 cms below your elbow height).
  • Choose secateurs with a cut and hold action.
  • Don’t overload your wheelbarrow.
  • Go to a good garden centre and investigate specially designed

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