Cheltenham Chiropractic Clinic safe gardening tips

During lockdown a lot of us are spending more time in the garden (when the weather allows!) but it is very important to treat garden jobs like any other form of exercise and warm up to prevent injury. Cheltenham Chiropractic Clinic Director Catherine shares some great tips from the British Chiropractic Association on how to keep flexible and pain free when out in the garden.

“As a nation, we love our gardens and spend a considerable amount of time and money on
them. As we rush to get those jobs in the garden done, there is a risk that gardeners may
injure themselves. What everyone wants is to be fit and healthy enough to actually enjoy
sitting in their garden and enjoy the fruits of their labours come summer time, so here are
some helpful tips from the British Chiropractic Association.”

Clothes
– Don’t wear clothes that are tight or could constrict your movement.

Warm Up
– Gardening is like any other exercise; you need to warm up first. Don’t go straight
into heavy garden work; start off with lighter jobs as this will lessen the chance of
muscle strain.

Using a ladder
–  When using a ladder or steps, make sure you are always facing it, keeping your
shoulders, hips and knees pointing in the same direction.
– Rather than leaning or reaching, move the ladder or step regularly to keep up with
where you are.
– Any kind of ladder must be firmly and safely planted in position and, if possible, have
someone else there to keep an eye on things.

Clever pruning
– Get as close as possible to the things you are pruning and avoid overstretching to
reach the area you are dealing with.
–  Invest in some long handled secateurs to reach plants and bushes that are beyond
normal reach.

Take a break
– Vary your activity by spending no more than 20-30 minutes on any one thing and
make sure you take regular breaks.

Be clever with the paving
– If laying a patio, keep the slab close to your body and bend your knees; it is
sometimes better to bend one knee rather two, as your supporting leg gives you a
position of strength.
– If using railway sleepers, two people will probably be needed.
Plan ahead
– If you are planning a trip to the local DIY store to buy heavy items such as cement
or gravel, buy smaller bags rather than one big bag as they are easier and safer to
carry.
– If you do buy heavy items, use a trolley and if on your own, ask an assistant at the
store to help you.
– If buying things like compost, sand or gravel in bulkier amounts, shovel the contents
of the large bags straight into smaller containers or wheelbarrow from the back of
the car.
– Don’t lift with your arms straight out, keep the elbows bent and to your side to
minimise the stress on your back.
– If having items delivered, have them unloaded as close to where you need them as
possible; this will save the effort of moving them again.
–  A specialist garden trolley might be worth investing in to move these sorts of
materials around, especially if you have lots of patio pots to move around as well.

Being active outside in the fresh air has lots of benefits for your physical and mental health so especially in these strange times gardening can prove very therapeutic – if you have been enjoying your gardens during the last few months we’d love to see your photos! 🌸🌳🌿🌷🌼🌻🌱

For more information on general garden health and safety visit the Royal Horticultural Society’s website here.