How gardening affects your posture: Top tips to avoid aches and pains while in the garden
Gardeners’ World: Will Young discusses gardening
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
Getting out in the garden may seem like a chore during the colder months, but there’s still plenty to be doing when it comes to gardening this winter. While getting stuck into pruning or planting will work wonders for your wellbeing, putting a foot wrong in the garden could be more damaging than you think. Whether you spend hours weeding your lawn or arched over plant pots, preserving good posture is key – and expert Julie Jennings has shared her top tips on how to do it.
Is gardening bad for your posture?
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, HSL postural expert and independent Occupational Therapist, Julie Jennings, said: “Throughout our everyday lives, our back is naturally placed under a certain level of stress – whether it be from sitting down at a desk all day, sleeping on an unsupportive mattress, or being un-attentive to the way we hold ourselves when gardening.”
A recent survey commissioned by HSL found that most people over 50 (71 percent) said their health and agility are one of the main aspects that make them conscious of ageing.
With more Brits taking up gardening since lockdown, it’s not just older generations that should be aware of their posture in the garden.
READ MORE: Garden: ‘Put off pruning’ – how to prepare your garden before winter
How to maintain good posture while gardening
There are plenty of ways that you can garden to your heart’s content while protecting yourself from injury.
Gardening can be very demanding, requiring you to stand, lean, crouch and squat in odd positions for long periods of time.
While you may not think it, warming up before gardening could prove particularly effective when learning to cope with the strain of tending to your plants.
Practice exercises like yoga and pilates which will help to improve your flexibility.
Engaging your core while doing a few squats or stretches will leave you loose and limber before tackling the tougher jobs outdoors.
Julie told Express.co.uk: “Maintaining a good level of flexibility and core muscle strength will go a long way in helping your body cope with the strain of gardening, ultimately decreasing the risk of any back pain or long-term damage caused by poor posture.”
Shake off any tightness in your muscles before heading out into the garden, focusing on your:
Gardener ordered to cut down ‘obscene’ hedge after neighbour complains [INSIGHT]
Where does Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall live? A look inside royal home [ROYAL]
Where does Rishi Sunak live? A look at the Chancellor’s properties [ANALYSIS]
Focus on your technique
While gardening is a leisurely activity, this nature-focused hobby requires a lot more technique than you may realise.
Julie stressed the importance of staying in tune with how you hold yourself while beautifying your garden.
She added: “When you slouch, your spine goes against its natural curves.
“If poor posture is sustained for an extended period, you’re likely to develop side effects such as poor circulation, fatigue, aches and pains, loss of movement and more – but keeping an eye on your technique will help to combat these side effects.”
Use the right tools
Gardening tools will take the strain off of your body if you struggle with reaching up, or crouching down.
Long-handled loppers and secateurs will make cutting more comfortable, while stools and knee pads will provide an extra layer of protection when planting or weeding.
Julie recommends using ergonomic gardening tools like cushioned kneelers and making use of raised beds to reduce over-exerting yourself while in the garden.
She added: “Investing in ergonomic tools can be really helpful for any pre-existing joint issues such as arthritis or sprains.”
Use down time wisely
It may seem tempting to slump down into the comfort of your sofa or armchair after a weekend spent in the garden, but Julie says this should be avoided.
Spending the evening in a slump will likely undo all of the hard work you have already put into your posture while gardening.
Julie said: “It is important that we provide our spine with a little rest and relaxation to offset any unnecessary tension which could lead to more serious health issues down the line.
“I always advise people to look at their sofas, chairs, and mattresses to ensure that they are getting the support they need when resting to maintain their postural health.”
Source: Read Full Article