Autumn and spring are busy times and budding gardeners will be keen to get out in the garden. But before you venture forth with spade or secateurs in hand read on for some helpful tips on how to prevent a weekend of gardening becoming a back breaking experience!
- First remember that gardening is a physical hobby so a certain level of fitness is necessary if you are to avoid getting injured. Try to take regular exercise throughout the year and keep flexible with some simple exercises.
- Many tasks in the garden involve bending, twisting and lifting and this can lead to back injuries. Try to break these tasks up into smaller chunks. Don’t spend the whole weekend in the garden but pace yourself and carry out heavy jobs in small chunks. Vary the sort of activity so that you are not concentrating on one type of task for too long.
- If you are tall there are tools nowadays with longer handles specially designed for taller people. This can make hoeing, digging and raking much easier.
Don’t bend down to weed but go on all fours so your lower back is not put under strain.
- When lifting bags of garden rubbish or shifting heavy stones or plants always make sure you bend your knees and take the strain with your legs rather than your back.
- Bring the load close to your body before lifting it. Know your own limitations and don’t lift anything beyond your capabilities – instead get the help of a friend or family member.
- When filling patio pots for the summer, put the pots on a table at waist height. You can comfortably fill them at this height and then, with help, carefully lift the pots off the table and into position. To keep the weight of the pots down don’t water them until they are in their final positions.
Don’t overload your wheelbarrow and when pushing it keep your back nice and straight.
- A full watering can is very heavy. Try having two and filling each of them half way up. Carry them at the same time to balance the weight evenly either side of you. This is much better than carrying a full can on one side. Keep the watering can close to you when pouring and hold with both hands.
- When using a hover mower don’t swing the mower from side to side as this can strain the back. Push and pull it forwards and backwards like a hoover, using your legs to do the work.
Finally, when the day’s work is done it’s tempting to slouch in a comfy chair – but don’t! Instead, sit up straight and put a rolled-up towel between your lower back and the chair to give support to your tired back.
First image sourced from The Great Outdoors Nursery at www.gonursery.com