Gardening is a brilliant way to keep active and has also proven to be a great aid, not just in physical health, but also for mental wellbeing, with horticultural therapy increasingly utilised as an intervention for mental health problems or simply to alleviate stress and anxiety.
However, as with any physical activity, gardening should always be undertaken in a way that reduces the vulnerability of the joints, muscles and back to injury. Here are our top tips for maintaining a healthy gardening routine.
- Focus on posture
Failing to maintain a good posture means that your muscles are constantly working overtime. Many injuries can occur while doing some of the most routine gardening tasks like mowing the lawn or clipping the hedge. The trick to maintaining a healthy gardening routine and staying healthy is to always be mindful of your posture.
- Protect your lower back
Protecting the muscles in the lower back is imperative. Many injuries often result from poor technique or posture when lifting heavy objects, shoveling or using loaded wheelbarrows. Try to avoid lifting heavy objects if possible, but if you do have to lift something, do it correctly. Be sure to always assess the weight of anything before you lift it, bend the knees, keep the back straight, avoid twisting movements and ensure all the weight is in the legs. Do not bend your waist!
- Move around
If you’re in the garden for an extended period of time, be sure to keep active and vary your movements. Staying in the same position for long periods can inflict unnecessary strain on your body. Repetitive movements such as weeding or digging can cause mechanical problems, so it’s always good to move around and switch tasks every ten minutes or so. And don’t forget to take regular breaks!
If you have any questions or if you’re concerned you may have incurred an injury as a result of activity in the garden, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
In the meantime – Happy Gardening from all of us at Nolan Osteopathy.