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Don't Dig a Hole for Yourself!!

Published: Tuesday, 5th March 2013



As the days become brighter and longer the keen gardeners amongst you will be itching to get your plots ready for spring. It can be tempting to overdo things, especially if the weather is good and with so much to do. With a little advance planning you can help to prevent injuries and reduce the risk of muscular aches and pains.


If you have a large garden or plot divide it into smaller sections and tackle one area at a time.


Try to change jobs often so that you vary your posture and use different muscle groups. For example, alternate a heavy job such as digging with a lighter task such as sowing seeds in the greenhouse. This is called pacing your activity.


Make sure that workbenches in the greenhouse are at a good working height so that you avoid stooping and maintain good posture. You may find it more comfortable to stand with one foot in front of the other and alternate.


When digging try to keep your back straight, bend your knees and tense your abdominal muscles as you dig. Dig a little at a time and take regular breaks.


When weeding kneel on a cushion to protect your knees. Kneeling also protects your back from unnecessary strain. Loosening the weeds with a hoe first would help you to vary your posture.


Dont overfill rubbish bags or wheelbarrows making them too heavy to lift.

Lighter loads and more frequent trips to the compost heap will reduce the risk of muscular strain.


Avoid overstretching when cutting high hedges and trees by using a ladder and lightweight, long-handled tools.


When pulling large shrubs out of the ground loosen the soil around the base first. Stand close to the plant, feet apart one foot in front of the other, keep your arms close to your body and pull gradually using your body weight rather than with quick, jerky movements.


Place your hands in the small of your back and arch backwards regularly after digging, hoeing, bending or lifting. This helps to stretch out your muscles in the opposite direction from your working position, therefore, helping to prevent discomfort.


Finally, in the words of the famous gardening presenter, do enjoy your garden whatever the weather!

Written by: Carol Williams. MCSP

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