This is week 2 of our 5-week series on gardening, its impact on the body and how you can help make gardening a more enjoyable experience for yourself.
Gardening can involve a lot of bending. Last week we talked about changing up your position so you are not constantly loading up one part of your body. Knee pads can really help with this as they not only protect your knee joints but also encourage you to use various positions when you are on the ground. For instance, kneel for a few minutes on both knees rather than bending forward when standing, or kneel on one knee with the other leg forward. A good motto is ‘the best posture is the next posture’.
As I mentioned last week, squatting and lunging are great ways of not only preserving your back, but also helping your knees to be much stronger. Squatting properly is important, so here are a few tips about the correct way to squat and lunge:
* Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart and your arms out in front of you and held horizontal to the floor.
* Bend your knees and hips, pushing your hips back behind you and leaning your body forward, as though you are about to sit on a chair. Make sure you are bending from the hips, not the back.
* Do not allow your knees to travel in front of your toes. Keep the middle of your kneecap in line with your second toe. Keep your weight on your heels, not your toes.
* At the bottom of the squat, tense your buttocks, lift and straighten back up to the start position.
* Start in a standing position with your arms by your sides or on your hips. Take a large step forward and, keeping your trunk upright, bend your front knee to 90 degrees and drop your hips directly down between both feet. Keep your back leg stretched out behind you.
* Ensure you take a large enough step that your front knee does not travel over your foot and keep your knee in line with your foot.
* Push back up to the starting position and repeat with the other leg.
Hope this helps your gardening experience!