Whilst the UK remains under lockdown measures, gardening has become a huge focus for many people spending a large amount of time at home. In the UK, we love our gardens, which means we often spend a considerable amount of time and money on them. It’s a great way to stay fit and spend some time outdoors, making it the perfect hobby for improving both physical and mental health in people of all ages.

Given the range of movements needed for gardening, it’s always difficult to maintain a good posture but it doesn’t matter if you are just pottering around or spending the whole day playing the full part of green-fingered gardener, a poor gardening technique can increase the load on your back muscles, risking injury to your muscles and joints.

Lifting

One of the most important things for you to consider when gardening is to practice a good lifting technique in order to prevent back injuries. Always test the weight of something you are going to lift and always warm up first, to help avoid injury.

When you do lift any weight, you should do so by engaging your core muscles which support your lower back. Keep your back straight and knees bent, use the strength of your legs to lift the weight up, rather than bending your back to lift the weight from the ground.

Carrying

As with lifting, always test the weight of anything you plan to carry to avoid injury whilst gardening. When carrying a heavy load, try to distribute the weight of the load evenly across your body by using both hands to carry the weight. Hold objects close to your body when carrying them, and use slow and deliberate movements.

Avoid any sudden twists or jerks whilst carrying anything as this can injure the joints and the back and avoid leaning forward to minimise stress on the spine. For excessive loads always use a wheelbarrow or similar gardening tool to transport the weight.

Digging

Have you ever wondered why your back aches after digging out the borders of your garden? Researchers from the Royal Horticultural Society investigated digging with spades. The researchers found that wielding a spade badly can hugely increase the strain placed on joints and muscles. They concluded that the best way to dig is by using a regular, repetitive technique instead of erratic movements, with minimal bending of the back and large bending of the knees.

Remember, when you get out in the garden this summer, by making sure you use good posture you can continue to stay safe and healthy throughout the lockdown.

You can find out more about maintaining a healthy posture in the garden from the British Chiropractors Association here, or if you find yourself injured from gardening or poor posture then call Backworks the Back & Neck Pain Specialists on 01702 342329.