How do reduce strain when gardening
Gardening is a fantastic hobby that can be so rewarding
Gardening is a fantastic hobby that can be so rewarding. Not only does it have benefits for your mental and physical well-being, but it can also be a wonderfully creative outlet, allowing you to experiment with pretty planting competitions and growing your own produce. There’s nothing quite like the sight of a summer garden in full bloom, the sound of bees bumbling happily around as they search hungrily for pollen, or the taste of fresh, homegrown herbs.
We must remember that gardening is a physical activity like any other, and there are some important things to consider to prevent injury, and other aches and pains that may arise. Many gardeners struggle with tools that are incredibly heavy, and this stops them from being able to do as much gardening as they’d like, or garden for long periods of time. Heavy tools can also cause immense back strain when used frequently, and other strain injuries in those prone to joint and back difficulties.
Always start with tools that you feel comfortable using. The Garden Life range from Kent and Stowe are fantastic because they combine the quality and craftmanship of the Kent and Stowe brand into tools that are 40% lighter than their regular counterparts. Long-handled tools such as long-handled weeders and telescopic loppers are also really handy to prevent injury as a result of too much reaching or bending as you garden.
Once you feel comfortable that you have tools that are going to work for you, follow these simple guidelines to help prevent strain whilst you garden.
Always warm up before you start gardening, just as you would before a workout. Do some simple stretches and replicate movements that you usually do in the garden such as reaching and squatting. Always stretch out your lower back and hamstrings before you begin gardening.
Lift and dig with care
Always bend from the knees when lifting and know your limits. If something is too heavy, ask someone to help, or reduce the weight by only filling the watering can halfway, for example. Even if you are simply picking up a dropped trowel, always use your knees to squat down and pick it up rather than bending from the back.
When digging, maintain good posture by keeping your back straight, bending your knees and trying not to stretch or twist too much. This is especially important when moving soil; take a step forward with your spade, bend the knees and use the legs to carry the load as you lift the spade.
Take your time and focus on close work, rather than trying to get everything done in a short a time as possible. Again, if you have lighter tools, you’ll be able to spend more time on activities like digging and weeding – ensuring you are maintaining the correct posture throughout. You can also vary your tasks alternately so that a different part of the body is taking the strain, and then switch again.
Design your garden with you in mind
Think carefully about ways in which the design of your garden can help to reduce strain. Raised beds and hanging baskets as well as climbing plants and window boxes are all ideal for reducing the amount of bending that is required. Use a potting bench when potting up containers, which enables you to stand at a comfortable height as you work.
If you feel there is too much to do and not enough time to pace yourself and take breaks, then think about reducing the area you have to cover by putting in a larger patio area, or perhaps deliberately creating a ‘wild’ area of your garden, perfect for hedgehogs and other wildlife. After a long gardening session, it can be tempting to crash on the sofa, but try to cool down properly first by taking a gentle walk and stretching out properly.