Now summer is here, many of us are spending much more time outside, particularly in the garden. Here are our top tips for looking after your body whilst gardening.

We are in the garden sign

1. Start by warming up

Gardening is physical work so ensure your body is prepared – after all, you wouldn’t go for a run without warming up first! Try walking around the garden, then doing a few gentle stretches and mobilisations to help warm up your muscles and loosen your joints.

2. Keep good posture

It’s very easy to forget about your body positioning whilst bending over to tend to your flower or veg beds. Instead of bending over and arching your back, try bending your knees down into a squat position whilst keeping your back straight. Alternatively, kneel down and lean with your back straight. A padded mat under your knees is really useful as it provides cushioning. If you find it difficult to kneel, lots of gardeners sit on a chair or stool and use long handled tools to access their garden beds.

image showing how to kneel when gardening
Protecting back when digging

3. Dig with care

When digging, keep the spade or fork as close to you as possible. Think minimal back bend, but a large knee bend! Try to dig in a regular, repetitive manner which will help keep your movements controlled and reduce the risk of straining.

4. Avoid twisting movements

Twisting when lifting or carrying something heavy can put an increased load on your lower back. Instead, ensure good lifting form (lift through the knees), and try to turn your whole body rather than just twisting through the back.

Standing holding container correctly

5. Change positions regularly

Immobility can cause irritation so instead of staying in one position for too long, try changing things up regularly or switching between tasks.

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Garden trowel in soil