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Summary

Spring finally feels to be here and the gardening season has commenced. Gardening is good exercise and relaxation, but can be a cause of back pain. Read these seven tips avoid back pain when gardening:

1. Planting

• Kneeling is a better position than bending over. Use a kneeler, old piece of foam or cushion to protect the knees.
• Don’t stoop or bend over when planting.
• If doing a lot of planting stand up, put your hands in the small of your back and arch your back backwards for a few seconds every 15 – 30 minutes.
• If planting pots or containers do them at worktop height rather than on the floor wherever possible, but be aware that of you need to move them afterwards they will be heavy, so large containers are often better done in situ. The key to protecting your spine is to plan in advance.

2. Planning

• Use low maintenance plants in awkward to get to areas.

3. Weeding

• Kneeling is the best position to weed from, use a kneeling pad wherever possible.
• Think about planting ground cover to cut down on weeding, or better still a weed membrane and mulch will drastically reduce the amount of weeding necessary.

4.Greenhouses

• Ensure working surfaces are at a correct height- just below elbow level.

5. Heavy weights

• Avoid lifting heavy weights wherever possible. Buy garden products in smaller bags.
• Transport using a wheelbarrow rather than carrying things.
• Make more trips with smaller loads, rather than trying to carry too much.
• If you do have to lift bend you knees hold the object close in to you, tighten your stomach muscles and keep your spine straight.

6. Vary tasks

• Any task performed for too long can cause poor posture and put a strain on you back. Swap tasks – for instance do half an hour of weeding where you are bent over then switch to some pruning that requires you to stand up and so on.

7.Pace yourself

• However good the weather, and however bad the forecast don’t try and do it all today especially with heavy tasks like digging. Instead pace yourself, set yourself a maximum time that you are going to do an activity for and don’t overdo it.

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