Your garden may be your little bit of paradise...

Your garden may be your little bit of paradise, but don't make gardening hell for your body.

The sun is shining (sometimes!) the plants and grass are growing (whatever the weather) and you may be feeling tempted to go for a gardening blitz…

Here are some top tips to make pottering in the garden a pleasure not a pain.

On the move! Whether it's moving pots, paving slabs and bags of compost here are our top tips:

  • Be realistic about what you can actually move

  • Can you can you move your load anther way?  For example; roll or walk it, push it in a wheelbarrow, drag it, wait until you can get help. Getting someone to share the load can be   really helpful, but make sure you co-ordinate well or one of you will end up taking all the strain.

  • Can you break the load down into smaller more manageable amounts?

 
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Got to lift?

  • If you have to lift, then ‘Love your load’ -get it close to the middle of your body and keep it there as long as possible.

  • You don't have to carry for the full distance or lift from floor to head height in one go. Instead lift in stages - from the floor to a midway point, reposition your load and you, and then do the next stage.

  • Move your feet rather than twisting your back - twisting and top heavy bending are bad enough on their own, it’s such bad news for your back if you combine the two. 

  • Use your legs not your back and upper body strength - this is what the powerful legs and bum muscles are designed for, and don’t forget to engage your core too.

  • If you are carrying a load and can't see where you are placing your feet, you are more likely to slip or fall - gardens are full of uneven surfaces and obstacles

Your body likes variety, so;

  • Try to change your activity every 20 minutes

  • Mix high, mid and low level working

  • When doing dextrous repetitive tasks, like using secateurs, use a relaxed grip, swap hands regularly if possible and take breaks from the activity

  • Rather than bending, crouching or stooping, try kneeling on one or both knees. There are knee pads, and kneeling cushions, some which convert to stools or have handles to push yourself back up.

Blitzing the garden places lots of demands on your body, which may be different from what your body is fit to do and used to.

Think little and often - plan what realistically you can achieve today and set a timer to remind you to take a break to admire all that good work.

 
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It is lovely to be outside in your garden, but do think about your sun safety too. Even on a cloudy day, 80% of the sun’s harmful UV rays can reach your skin, so use sunscreen, cover up and keep hydrated. (Or if it is more a typical summer – ensure you are warm and dry!!)

Enjoy your garden, and don’t let your body pay the price of your enthusiasm. Do share your top tips in the comments below.

To find out more about posture and looking after your body, visit The Ergo Elf.

Katy Carlisle