For many people, gardening is the only real form of exercise they get.
Care needs to be taken when returning to the garden after the inactive winter months:
Before you start, make sure your tools are right for you. Ask advice at your garden centre about the height of the spade, hoe or fork you should be using. There are lighter ranges, long-handled ranges and those with ergonomic handles. It makes sense to try different types and find the ones for you. Take it steadily! Don’t try and dig the entire plot in one go! Give yourself regular breaks, say every 20 minutes. Warm up with gentler activities before going onto serious digging!
Digging for a long period is tiring, so try and swap activities regularly and intersperse digging with raking or gentle weeding so you have a balance of high input activity with gentler tasks. Try and swap sides regularly so you don’t do all the work on one side of your body.
If you have a lot of watering to do, balance yourself by carrying two watering cans of roughly the same weight. Don’t heave large bags of compost; instead use your wheelbarrow to move them. Pick items up with bent knees and a straight back.
Try and design your garden or allotment with your back in mind. Raised beds are all the rage at the moment and they are worth looking at as they do have advantages in reducing the amount of bending you need to do. They can be easier to plant, weed, water and harvest than in-ground beds.
If you have a potting shed or greenhouse, make sure that work benches are the correct height to avoid stooping.
If you do inadvertently strain your back a few trips to your local McTimoney chiropractor should be able to help. The McTimoney technique is very precise and gentle and can used by gardeners of all abilities and ages.