One thing is sure, Autumn is well upon us. Leaves are falling and the days are becoming shorter. This is certainly a busy time for gardeners with plenty of tidying up to do before the cold weather well and truly sets in, along with planting spring blooming bulbs
Gardening is not called ‘back-breaking’ work for no reason. There’s often a lot of lifting, carrying and bending required to perform gardening tasks. All of which, if not undertaken with care can result in back pain or other muscle strains.
In this post, our London chiropractor offers ten tips for you to follow that will help keep your back safe when gardening this Autumn.
Ten Back Safe Gardening Tips
#1 – Wear appropriate clothing
While there is a chill in the air in the Autumn, being active in the garden will soon raise your temperature. Layer up your clothing so that you can remove layers or put layers back on as you need.
Wear comfortable loose fitting clothing that won’t restrict your movement but isn’t going get caught up as you work.
#2 – Warm up before you start
Regard gardening as if you are about to take some aerobic exercise and make sure to warm up your body before getting started with some stretches.
#3 – Start with smaller lighter tasks
Don’t rush headlong into doing the most strenuous heavy work first. Start with smaller lighter tasks and build up to the heavy lifting and more strenuous tasks.
#4 – Avoid overreaching
Overreaching and twisting your body puts you at risk of muscle train and falls. Move as close as possible to the plants or object you are working on to avoid overreaching and twisting.
#5 – Make tasks easier and safer with the right equipment
Make gardening easier on your body by investing in equipment that helps. There are all kinds of equipment designed for this purpose, from long handled tools to buckets with ergonomic handles.
#6 – Bend less, kneel more
Avoid bending as much as possible as it puts a lot of strain on the back. Instead, use a kneeling pad to kneel on or otherwise squat down.
#7 – Think before you lift
There’s plenty of things that need be moved around when gardening and most of these can be quite weighty from bags of compost, bucket of water to flowerpots. If you have a lot of heavy lifting to do think if you need some assistance and reach out for help before starting.
Keep your back safe when lifting by using a good lifting technique and following this advice:
Before lifting: Decide where you are going to put the object and clear a route to it.
When lifting: Stand straight in front of the object and avoid twisting your body. Keep your back straight, engage your core and bend your knees when picking up the object. Keep the object as close to your body as possible while moving it.
Resting the object: When you are ready to put the object down make sure to keep you back straight, avoid twisting your body and bend your knees.
#8 – Reduce the heavy loads
Whenever possible break heavy loads down into smaller lighter loads.
If you are having materials such as soil or timber delivered, to reduce the amount of heavy lifting you need to do, arrange for the materials to be put as close to where you’ll be using them as possible.
#9 – Take extra care when using a ladder
More accidents and injuries occur using ladders than any other piece of DIY equipment. If you are going to use a ladder you need to make your safety a priority. It is advisable to ask someone to be on hand to hold the ladder while you are using it.
Before starting: Make sure your ladder is in good working order. Wear suitable footwear and clothing for your safety. Avoid using the ladder on uneven, soft or sloping ground.
Using the ladder: Face the ladder straight on, avoid twisting your body and keep three points of contact with it at all times (2 feet and at 1 hand). Never overreach – move the ladder closer to where you need to be.
#10 – Take breaks regularly and vary tasks
It’s easy to get carried away and forget how long you’ve been at it. Taking regular breaks every 20 – 30 minutes to stretch out your body and have a glass of water.
Visiting Our London Chiropractor MotionBack
Our chiropractors at MotionBack have been helping people find relief from back pain and other conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system for over a decade. To book an appointment with one of experienced team, call 0207 112 5408 or you can book an appointment online on our website here.