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chelsea flower show 2016

Chelsea fever – avoiding gardening aches

Chelsea Flower Show is here…

…and with a Bank Holiday ahead many of you will be rushing to your nearest garden centre to stock up on summer time blooms and add some colour and vibrancy into your garden and life. And if you haven’t been using those gardening muscles in the winter and spring that means you may be prone to sore necks, backs and legs in the next few weeks with all the positive inspiration as your garden starts to bloom. Here’s some quick tips for injury free gardening.

wheelbarrowGardening – repetitive strain

It’s that time of year when people get interested in making their gardens look beautiful yet again. Starting into the Spring tidy up and planting may be for some the first exercise after a substantial period of inactivity – and this can lead to an increase in strains.

Gardening involves plenty of repetitive gripping, lifting, kneeling, stretching and reaching. The back is the most vulnerable followed by the knee, the wrist and the elbow. The neck and shoulder can also be injured. Read on for a few hints on what to think of when you start your spring gardening.

A Defense is the best offence… Tips for injury free gardening

The best way to avoid injury, is to ensure that you are fit enough for the task before you start:

Maintain good leg strength and flexibility

With inactivity, leg strength & flexibility are gradually lost. If you are weak or immobile in one area the strain during activity will transfer to the next location ie. if you are weak or inflexible in the leg muscles you will automatically load your back more. Simple, regular exercises can restore the range of motion and strength quickly.

Good strong back & stomach muscles

Whether your legs are weak or not, your back still needs to be strong and stable to carry a load and if you are bending and twisting whilst gardening, your back will take a greater strain. The balance between the abdominal core strength muscles and the muscles of the back is essential to maintain a healthy back.

Good hand and grip strength

Gripping bags of compost or waste and cutting and pulling plants needs good grip strength and stability.

Use knee pads or kneel on a cushion or pillow

Gardening involves plenty of kneeling. Without cushioned support, the structures of the knee will become inflamed and sore.

Wear a back support if you are lifting or have a bigger belly

A little extra support around the back and stomach will help protect you and prevent injury.

Always remember… prevention is better than cure.

Happy Gardening!

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