Person Gardening Leaning Over a Flower Bed

Gardening and back pain: how to avoid those aches

Gardening is the great British pastime, with over four out of ten people in the UK enjoying a sunny afternoon keeping their garden pristine!

However, all that bending over and lifting can be hard on your back.

Here are some of our top tips for warding off pesky back pain and keeping your garden green and pristine!

1. Warm up and cool down

Gardening counts as a solid workout – half an hour of digging can burn up to 250 calories!

As you would with other exercises like jogging, yoga, and tennis, it’s essential to warm up. This increases blood flow to your muscles, meaning less chance of injuring yourself. Ten minutes of light walking or stretches will get you primed for pruning!

Don’t forget to cool down with some gentle exercise too. This alleviates soreness and helps your heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure come down to normal.

2. Take breaks

Like other types of exercise, it’s important to take regular breathers when gardening, especially when it’s hot and you’re working on intensive tasks.

Take a short break every half an hour to have a drink or stretch out.

Don’t forget to drink lots of water when you’re gardening. When you’re dehydrated, the discs between the vertebrae in your spine dry out, increasing the chances of back pain.

3. Take care when lifting

If there’s a heavy bag of compost that needs moving, you need to do it right. Many people lift with their back, which can put strain on your spine and lead to aches and pains.

Lifting with your legs gives you more power and is a lot safer. Pull in your abs, stand with your feet slightly apart, keep the weight close to your body, and straighten your hips and knees.

If you need to move a lot of things around, a wheelbarrow can make life much easier!

4. Mix it up in the garden

Some gardening activities will be harder on your back than others. For example, bending over a spade is more likely to lead to back pain than kneeling and weeding.

Rotating between different activities means you can rest your back and take a breather.

5. Use special tools

Did you know that you can get ergonomic gardening tools that can help take the pressure off your back?

Switching to long-handled tools means you don’t have to bend over as much, meaning less pressure on your back.

A stool or kneeler can make weeding and digging more comfortable and make it easier to get up and down, which can help your back.

So there you have it: five tips for reducing back pain when you’re digging and weeding. Follow this guidance, and you’ll be one step closer to relaxing in your beautiful garden with a cup of tea or a refreshing beverage!

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