6 top tips to keep you happy and healthy in the garden!

Gardening offers both physical and mental benefits – it is a rewarding hobby that also gets us out in the fresh air. 

However lots of bending, twisting and lifting can have a negative impact on the body if we are not prepared. This is particularly true for those of us that may be quite sedentary through the winter months. Here are our top 6 tips to keep you happy and healthy in the garden this spring!

1) Warm up:
Treat gardening just as you would any other form of exercise.
Why not try:
– A brisk walk around the garden
– Some sit to stands using a chair
– Stretch your arms above your head
– Stretch and move your fingers and wrists

2) Use a kneeling pad:
A protective pad can reduce the strain on your knees. If we put too much pressure on the front of the knees over a prolonged period of time, it can cause inflammation and irritation to the joint and surrounding ligaments, tendons and muscles so invest in a good support!

3) Little and often:
It is very easy to get carried away with an activity when you enjoy it. However, gardening is similar to any other form of exercise – this means we should be aware how long we have been kneeling/lifting or standing for. 
Figure out a time that works for you e.g. 20-45 minutes and take frequent breaks. 

4) Think before you lift:
If you have a heavy bag of compost to shift, make sure you do so with good posture. Bend through your knees and hips to squat down and avoid curling through your spine. Also try to keep objects close to the body to avoid straining the lower back. If something is too heavy, ask for some help!

5) Keep yourself strong:
Each year, we see many patients who begin gardening as the weather improves but have done little to no strengthening exercise throughout the rest of the year. This sudden increase in activity can lead to overuse injuries. Keeping yourself active throughout the year will mean your body is prepared come gardening season! Specific exercise programs can also be given to you by a trained professional such as a Physiotherapist or Personal Trainer. 

6) Use the right tools:
Investing in good quality tools can help to reduce over use injuries. Equipment with longer handles, stools and kneeling pads are all examples of ways you can make gardening more enjoyable and minimise risk of injury. 

So there you have it – Hopefully these tips will keep you happy in the garden! If you still need some further guidance or help, please feel free to contact the clinic to speak directly with a Physiotherapist.

Thanks for reading.

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