As this gardening season comes to a close and the winter months start, we are still left with a fair amount of tidying to do in preparation for next season. As clinicians we tend to see an increase in gardening related injuries from now through until spring as patients start to tidy and prepare gardens for planting. Many tasks in the garden can be repetitive and tend to hold you in one position for a protracted period of time. As a rule we don’t warm up or stretch before gardening as we perhaps would with a sporting task, so here are a few brief tips to help you get through the winter tasks that the garden throws at you.
As the weather gets colder, keeping warm when gardening is important to allow best function of the musculature and joints.
Don’t stay in one position for a protracted period, listen to your body. Stretch in the opposite direction in a mirrored position regularly.
Have 2-3 jobs on the go at once to allow you to change your posture regularly.
Don’t get into a repetitive action for long periods without taking a break, such as planting bulbs.
Stop before you are sore. You will still have tools to clean and put away and tidying to do.
Enlist help, don’t lift something that is too heavy for you, work to your actual capability rather than what you think you can do and be patient.
Divide work over a number of days, resist the urge to get all your tasks finished in one session.
Remember, if you look after your back it will look after you.