It’s the time year where the sun begins to shine and we venture out to tend to our gardens.  After a long cold winter, where some of us may have been less active, this brings with it the risk of triggering common gardening aches and pains.

Gardening often consists of repetitive actions and being in positions for longer periods than our bodies may be used to. Whether it be kneeling whilst planting, bending over to pull up those tough weeds  or grasping those hedge trimmers as we reach for those hard to reach places. 

Such activities can cause excessive stress and strain on muscles and joints such as the lower back, knees, shoulders and elbows. 

Four tips to avoid common garden injuries:

1. Warm up

As with any exercise, preparing the body for the task ahead is important. Consider a brisk walk and some gentle mobilisations of the body such as shoulder rolls, pelvic tilts and rotations and some small knee bends.

2. Using the right equipment

The use of gardening aids such as the use of kneeling pads, small stools, long handled tools or even a wheelbarrow to move heavy items around can all help reduce the load on the body.

3. Watch your posture & body mechanics

The body is made to move. Often prolonged or repetitive movements can put joints under unnecessary loads and stress. Be sure to take breaks between tasks that involve the same actions. Being aware of how you bend/lift e.g. use your knees, keep a good posture and keep any load close to the body. 

4. Pacing

Although gardening is a great form of exercise it is important to pace yourself at first to avoid any overload on our muscles and joints. Perhaps setting a timer to ensure that you take that break. As the saying goes Rome wasn’t built in a day!  

When to call a physiotherapist:

We hope that these handy tips help prevent any aches and pains, however if they do occur and fail to settle or you have pre-existing injuries that are preventing you from gardening then please do not hesitate to get in touch. Our experienced team of physiotherapists are here to help. 

T: 0113 388 2064

Find out more about the Physiotherapy at Nuffield Health Leeds Hospital

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