Gardening is a great activity, but it can play havoc with the body at times. Sometimes the back, shoulders and neck can suffer, particularly as you battle the weeds that have taken hold over the summer.
Over the next five weeks I will be looking at gardening, its impact on the body, and how you can help make gardening a more enjoyable experience for yourself.
This week we will focus on the lower back and issues it can have with gardening. Gardening commonly involves a lot of repeated bending forward and sustained periods in a forward bent position, often tugging at weeds. Bending forward is not generally a problem unless it is repeated and sustained, in which case it can put undue pressure on the disc spaces in the lower back and lead to ongoing pain and discomfort
Here are few tips to help you avoid this happening when you are gardening:
* Avoid repeated bending at your back. Try other ways of reaching the ground, such as squatting or kneeling. When squatting, keep your back straight, bending from the hips and knees rather than your lower back. If squatting is a problem, try lunging with one leg forward and the other behind, keeping your back straight.
* Avoid sustained periods in one position especially bending forward. Try sitting on the ground, sitting on a small stool or kneeling. The important thing is that you are constantly changing the way you do things so as not to load up one part of the body continually.
* Take the time to stand up and do a few back extensions at every opportunity.
Back extensions in standing:
* Start in a standing position with your legs hip-width apart and your hands on your hips.
* Lean your trunk backwards, arching in the lower back and lifting your chest up.
* Hold this position before returning to the start position.
* Repeat this 3–4 times.
Hope this helps your gardening experience!