Gardening and back problems

Gardening is a hobby enjoyed the world over and known for increasing fitness and reducing stress. Sadly, however, many people are forced to give up gardening when they get older. Having trouble with movement, getting up and down, carrying tools can easily discourage those who suffer problems with their mobility. Many of us suffer problems with our back as we grow older and gardening can prove quite painful if not done correctly. There are a few simple ideas that you should consider in order to enhance your enjoyment of gardening. 

Top tips

  1. Warm up! Like a sportsman or woman, you should warm up before gardening. This may take the form of a few simple stretching exercises to ensure that muscles are prepared. Kairen at Trigger Points can help you choose the right exercises through her Better Back programme. 

  2. Plan your gardening in smaller, bite (or should I say back?)-sized chunks. You wouldn’t expect to go from a standing start to running a half marathon, so why expect your body to copy with 2 to 3 hours of gardening? 

  3. Use the correct tools. Work from a standing position, using tools with a longer handle so that you don’t have to hunch so much. 

  4. Maintain good body posture at all times. Don’t overstretch. Lift with your legs and not your back. Kairen’s Trigger Points Better Back programme covers how to lift effectively.

  5. Bend from the hips and not the waist. Rather than twist, reposition your body so that you don’t need to.

  6. Use a kneeling pad. Better still, avoid kneeling if at all possible. Raised beds or elevated containers can reduce the need for excessive bending and possibility of back strain.

  7. Co-opt someone for more strenuous activities. Work as a team with a neighbour or friend if possible.

  8. Finally, prevention is better than cure. Invest in a Trigger Points Better Back programme, consisting of deep tissue therapy, back exercises and advice on lifting techniques. Investment in your personal health and wellbeing is a sound long term investment. Renew, Refresh, Regenerate!