Gardening is fun, great exercise and you can do it at any age, but there is a risk of overdoing it in the garden and causing injury. Gardeners face physically demanding tasks and plunge into these tasks without warming up, using appropriate tools or thinking about correct posture.
Melanie Clark, of Malton and Easingwold Chiropractic wants to raise awareness of the importance of posture whilst gardening and using ergonomically friendly tools as we head into gardening season. She is a keen gardener herself and so understands the strains you can put on your body.
You can help avoid injury by following some simple tips:
- Warm up properly. Just as you would before starting any other exercise. Try to start with lighter tasks and work up to heavier work.
- Avoid lifting heavy objects. But if you do, then use a wheelbarrow or trolley, or ask for assistance.
- If lifting or bending, hold item close to your body, with elbows bent to minimise stress on your back. Bend your knees or hips rather than your back. Use long handled, lightweight tools to limit bending and contract your abdominal muscles before you lift or bend.
- Use raised beds if possible to minimize bending
- Use wide handled tools to keep a neutral wrist position and help prevent repetitive strain injuries. You can widen your existing tool handles using foam tubing or tape.
- Keep tools sharp and in good condition to reduce the energy required by you.
- Use knee cushions/pads and suitable protective gloves, and wear comfortable loose clothing.
- Vary your activity every 30 minutes and take regular breaks.
- Listen to your body. If it hurts, then stop.
- Use an icepack or have a hot bath after gardening as a preventative measure.
If you would like further advice or find out about how chiropractic can help you contact Melanie directly on 07969050422.