Gardening

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Be careful Gardening

Working out in the garden can be very relaxing and great exercise. However care must be taken to avoid injury. Here are some simple tips:

Be Prepared

Warm up before starting any activity by gently stretching your muscles. Analyse each task and ask yourself… how can I make this easier? Have your greenhouse work benches built to the correct height to avoid bending. Use a cushioned pad or kneeler to avoid pain and swelling in the knee joints.

Tools

Choose tools that are the correct size for you. Use tools with long handles. This will provide you with greater leverage and require less effort. Ensure that blades are sharp to avoid extra strain. Put secateurs in a holster attached to your belt to save constantly bending down to pick them up. Don’t use a heavy, full watering can. Fill it halfway and do more trips.

Little and Often

Vary jobs every 30-60 minutes or so to give the different muscle groups a rest. For example if you have been kneeling for a while planting or weeding, change to a different posture and different task such as 30 minutes of mowing the lawn. Take regular breaks and drink plenty of liquid.

Digging

Digging is one of the chief causes of back ache. Use your body weight and thigh muscles to avoid straining the low back. Dig large areas in stages. Choose a spade with a narrow blade to avoid the temptation of digging large spadefuls. Pace yourself, and develop a rhythm. Rest frequently, and stop if your back aches.

Lifting and Handling

If a heavy object needs to be moved consider if you need assistance or whether you could use equipment such as a wheel barrow to help. Plan the move, get an indication of the weight and shape of the object and make sure that there are no hazards to trip or slip on. Do not attempt to lift an object that is too heavy.

If you must lift something, keep your back straight at all times and let your thigh muscles do the work. See our page for tips for lifting and handling. When using a wheelbarrow, place the weight to the front, over the wheel, and then lift the handles using the technique described above. Always push a wheelbarrow, do not pull it. Resist the temptation to overload it. Do two trips with a lighter load than one trip with a heavy load.