Back and/or neck pain is a common complaint following a session in the garden.
- Pace yourself, especially early in the season. Work in short sessions. Do a variety of different tasks rather than tackling a large, repetitive task all at once
- Use tools of the trade to make various tasks easier. Stools, kneeling pads, rakes with long handles to reduce bending, large grip handles to reduce strain on your wrists. Use wheelbarrows to move materials instead of lifting and carrying things yourself
- Adapt. Raised gardens, container/pot gardens and trellises can reduce the need for stooping and straining. Permanent watering systems reduce the need for routine maintenance work yet produce a lush garden
- Change positions regularly; stools which are padded on top and bottom are ideal. You can sit on the stool to avoid stooping or bending, then turn it over and kneel on the padded underside. This allows you to easily vary your position and avoid kneeling on hard surfaces. When in the kneeling position, the legs of the stool also make it easier to get up again.
Mowing your lawn
In general, mowing provides a good overall workout. It provides aerobic exercise, while strengthening the ligaments and muscles that support your joints. Here are a few ways to ensure that mowing your lawn doesn't become a pain:
- Use a mulching mower. This will allow you to avoid stooping to gather clippings, and avoid raking and hauling leaves
- Store your mower in a convenient location so that you don't need to wrestle it out of a crowded shed
- If you're in the market for a new mower, consider one with a key-start ignition. Pulling repeatedly on a starter cord can cause shoulder or lower back injuries
- Don't over fertilise
- Mow with the blade set higher. It's good for your lawn and reduces the resistance of pushing your mower
- For smaller lawns, consider using an electric mower. These are light weight and reduce the vibration that goes through your joints
- Do not bend forward at the waist when pushing your mower, try to walk with an erect posture. Be especially careful when turning the mower around, by staying close to the handle and avoiding abrupt twisting movements.