Top 7 Gardening Back Pain Tips
Here’s our list of top tips for enjoying your gardening without injury this summer. Osteopath approved™.
1. Warm up!
Gardening can be serious exercise! Just like any other form of exercise you need to make sure you have warmed up before hand.
Go for a brisk 5 minute walk. Get that heart pumping and muscles moving in a nice gentle way before starting your gardening. Or why not try some dynamic stretches? If you want your lawn looking like Centre Court at Wimbledon, first checkout Rafael Nadal’s dynamic warm-up routine. He’s a master at dynamic stretches.
2. Watch your posture.
You were waiting for this one weren’t you? There’s nothing more important for long term, pain free gardening. But what are some specifics?
Make sure you have a steady base for lifting by keeping the weight close to you. Get low to the ground when weeding instead of leaning over and extending yourself. Only kneel for very short bursts and adopt an all fours position keeping the back protected. When digging, stand between the hole and the pile to keep effort balanced across both sides of your body and the distance shorter.
3. Garden smart.
Summon your inner Monty Don, and get the garden working for you. Gardening can be an exercise for the mind as well as the body.
Mulch for weed prevention. Fewer weeds, less weeding. We can all agree that’s a good thing. Try raised beds and window boxes so there isn’t so much stooping. Slow growing shrubs reduce the amount of maintenance, and narrow flower beds mean you don’t need to reach too far to weed them.
4. Stay hydrated.
It can get pretty hot out in the garden on a sunny day, make sure you keep drinking water.
Take a bottle into the garden with you. When you need an excuse for a quick break, grab your water an kill two birds with one stone.
5. Use tools if needed.
For more than 10,000 years we have used tools to help us tend the land, and it's no less sensible now than it was then. Using the right tool for the job will help to protect your body.
Kneelers can be helpful to protect your knees, some even come with handles to help you get up from the ground with ease. Long handle tools like forks and trowels can be super useful to stop you having to bend down so much.
6. Take breaks.
It’s easy to lose track of time as you buzz around the garden taking care of one task after the next. Even busy bees need a rest from time to time, so make sure you take regular breaks.
Rotate activities. Don’t do one action for too long. DIfferent tasks will give your back a break. If it’s a big job, split out the tasks over multiple days. There’s only so much your back can manage in a single day.
7. Cool down.
Like any other exercise, it’s tempting to crash onto the sofa after working hard in the garden, but this just makes you more likely to seize up.
Go for a short walk to cool down first. The sofa will still be there when you get back.