Now that the weather has become a bit more consistently nicer and warmer, some of us start our annual hobby of gardening. Gardening is often overlooked as a physical activity and can be hard going on our bodies, particular areas of concern are lower back and knees.
Here are some simple ways to prevent injuring your lower back or knees while you spend time in the garden.
Prepare to do some gardening by doing a warm up before you start. Gardening is a physical activity and will require many muscle groups to work to allow you to dig and kneel down. It may not feel like a gym workout or an intense run, but your body will recognise that it is working harder than just sitting down. Warm up with some lunges, squats and some core exercises as some of the movements in gardening are similar to these exercises. Stretches will also help the body prepare for the hard work.
Change your gardening position frequently to prevent any issues with your back. Repetitive movements such as bending the back or twisting can put a lot of stress on the discs in your back. If working in small spaces, changing your position or changing the working hand will benefit you. If digging up large areas of your garden, try to focus on using your legs in a squatting position rather than you back. Your legs are a big muscle group, use them more than your back. Swap between your left and right side when digging up ground.
When pulling weeds up from the ground use your leg strenth to pull te weeds out rather than arms and back. Try to be in a squat position to enable you to use your legs and keep your back straight to prevent any disc issues.
Take regular breaks to hydrate yourself and to give your body some time to loosen up rather than become stiff. Maybe change to another job rather than spending hours on the same one.
Be kind to your knees if you are kneeling down for a long time. Use a cushion to reduce the pressure on your knees, or kneel on one knee at a time, place some weight onto the other foot. This will also give some relief to your back
I have had appointments recently with a few keen gardeners at the clinic with issues with their back from gardening. Not only is it affecting their hobby but it’s affecting their sleep and time spent enjoying the sun (when it appears).
If you are starting to suffer from any pain, apply these tips or seek professional advice before the pain becomes unbearable.