Gardening The Right Way

Posted: 17th April 2014

Gardening, the Right Way

By Jemima Munro, Principal Physiotherapist, HCPC registered, MCSP

As the sun shines I am sure all you keen gardeners, budding gardeners and just-haveto gardeners are wondering what to tackle next. Therefore I thought it might be an ideal opportunity to give some helpful tips of how to look after your bodies so that you can keep gardening and be able to enjoy it.

Whenever you can see lots of physical tasks ahead of you it is always hard to decide which one to start with especially if you are already limited by injury. Every injury has to be taken on its own merit as to whether it is advisable to do some of the tasks if at all. When you are planning what to do remember to pace the activities. This pacing should be with regard to the time it takes to do it and the physical positions and movements needed. If you know you need to do a few standing tasks and a few kneeling or sitting tasks alternate between them. This helps to stop the same muscle groups from getting too tired in one go and may be a good way to help break up the continuous posture you may be using.

Posture is a dynamic thing and as such we are forever changing it. It is always worth having regular posture reminder breaks with each task. This gives you a moment to correct the posture that you are in and give your body the best chance of working properly before continuing the task. It is also important to schedule in some longer breaks to be able to have a drink etc and completely change your posture and give your muscles a rest. These breaks are easily skipped when you are in the middle of doing something or when you are nearly finishing a task and just want to get it done. From experience it is really worth sticking to these breaks and putting your tools down and then going back to it even if it is just for another five minutes. Some tasks within the garden make it very difficult to maintain upright and good posture as we often find
ourselves in awkward positions but whenever possible try to. Likewise rather than trying to over reach for that branch, move closer, move the ladder or get someone to help.

The list for helpful guidance with gardening is endless and there are some great books available to give you pointers such as Garden your way to Health and Fitness (by Bunny Guinness and Jacqueline Knox). If you are suffering from an injury or struggling from overdoing it then don't leave it, get it looked at. You can always ring 56 London Road Clinic and book an appointment. Otherwise have fun and enjoy your Garden!