In the Autumn as the leaves start to fall and plants start to die back, our minds turn to the many jobs in the garden that need completing before Winter sets in.
Whether you are digging, raking up fallen leaves, or wheeling a wheelbarrow it is important to take your time and look after your back.
Here are some tips to prevent back pain:
Clothes – Wear warm clothes that will keep you dry but avoid wearing clothes that are tight or could constrict your movement.
Warm up and stretch – Gardening is like any other exercise; you need to warm up first. Take a 10–15 minute walk to warm up your muscles and start with the lighter jobs as this will lessen the chance of any muscle strain. Stretch before and after.
Take regular breaks and stay hydrated –-Vary your activity to prevent your body from being in one position and avoid repeating the same actions for a long period of time. Take a break every 20 minutes to stand up straight and stretch. Gardening is a form of exercise, so it is important to bring a water bottle and stay well hydrated.
Use your wheelbarrow – Many injuries occur when lifting and moving heavy weights. Use a wheelbarrow to transport heavy loads and remember you don’t have to move everything at once – it is much better to divide the load into smaller and lighter loads. Ask a family member or neighbour to help you move any heavy or awkward objects.
Remember Your Posture! – Bend using your knees, not your back. Keep your back straight and engage your core muscles.
Keep the rake or shovel near your body – Keep your body in line with the rake or shovel, use short precise movements and avoid twisting movements.
Pay attention to any numbness, tingling, weakness or pain. A chiropractic check-up could be needed.