Steer clear of muscle strain while carrying out garden duties this autumn…
Getting out in the fresh air to do some gardening can be a real joy. However, if you’re not used to all the extra exercise and physical movement that donning a rake or trowel will bring, you could end up doing your body more harm than good.
Digging, mowing and stooping place considerable stress on the ligaments and joints in the lower lumbar spine and cause them to become inflamed and tender. This in turn triggers a protective muscle spasm, which gives rise to the deeper, duller, achy type of pain that occurs over the following few days.
Taking extra care of your muscles and joints, especially when undertaking a form of exercise that you are not used to, is very important. Follow these ten top tips for warding off garden aches and pains:
Gently stretch your muscles and ligaments for a few minutes before and after gardening; but don’t bend down to touch your toes — this can cause damage
Wear light, but warm clothes & make sure your lower back is always covered
Kneel on one leg rather than bending your back repeatedly
Use long handled tools to prune tall plants
Use only a small spade/fork for digging and keep your back gently hollowed
Do not always work to one side only; ensure that you change your position regularly
Don’t do the same work for long periods; try and vary your tasks
Keep your back straight when carrying
Have a warm bath or shower after you’re finished
Do not sit for too long in your favourite armchair after carrying out work in the garden; instead stand up regularly and walk around for a minute or two.