We're fast reaching the time when gardeners rush out to their gardens with gusto – and without thought as to whether they are bodily prepared for the exercise which they are about to do. Here are some tips which will help to prevent any injuries:
take care if you have a history of low back pain – particularly when bending and lifting as this is when you're most vulnerable to injury. Keep heavy objects close to the body and use your legs to lift by crouching rather overly bending your back. Think about it when you are lifting even if the objects are light.
Prepare your tools so that you are as comfortable as possible. For example, have something soft to kneel on if you are doing a job involving kneeling or have something to lean on if you are reaching repetitively. Try not to over-reach whichever position you are in.
Try not to be in one position for too long. Change activities approximately every 20 minutes therefore reducing the strain on one particular group of muscles. Have a walk around for a few minutes between each job to give yourself a break.
Start off with easy tasks and progress to the more difficult ones so that you are effectively warming up and pace yourself – little and often is better
drink plenty of fluids especially on a hot day
Heavy work such as digging and pulling out roots cause the most injuries so again, start by loosening the ground first, use leverage to assist and don't dig when it's very dry
avoid repetitive bending tasks
try and make time to warm down after gardening to reduce the build up of muscle tension by going for a short walk or doing some stretches. Perhaps have a warm bath or shower to relax your muscles.
Be mindful of what you're doing, take care of your back and, most importantly, enjoy gardening!