Gardening and Your Health

Digging in the garden.

It’s that time of year when the sun begins to shine, buds bloom and everything begins to look a little greener and more colourful. Most people at the weekends mow the lawn, do some weeding and get the garden looking lovely. Anyone who has carried heavy bags of compost, stretched to pull weeds from hard to reach places and dug up some tree roots knows gardening can be a full workout using muscles you never thought you had!

Keep objects and work surfaces close to your body and prevent yourself from over reaching.

Bend your knees and squat to lift. If weeding kneel on a pad to get to ground level or use an old blanket to rest under your knees. Sometimes sitting on a small stool can be more comfortable.

When trimming high branches or hedges use a ladder or step stool to prevent over reaching. Use tools with longs handles and that are light to prevent stresses on the upper neck, shoulders and low back region.

When mowing the lawn or using a wheelbarrow avoid twisting from your low back. Pivot from your feet and keep your back long with your arms and elbows close to your body.

Take breaks – overuse or repetitive motions such as digging or weeding can cause problems. Excessive gripping of tools can cause tendonitis type injuries in the wrist and arm regions.

Switch tasks to prevent repetitive overuse of areas.

Don’t put too much strain on your back. Gardening is a great source of exercise for many fresh air and enjoyment. Take care when getting back into the garden and listen to your body. If you feel twinges or pain take a rest or break don’t carry on.