Pace Yourself. Easy Does It. Hints & Tips To Ease You Into A Good Garden Routine.

Now. Last week I seem to remember suggesting a series of gentle exercises moulded in order to help you get back into your garden without compromising your back. Yes? Helpful? Show of hands? Good. Oh…except you at the rear,sitting down with the hot water bottle strapped to your coccyx, swallowing the ibuprofen … ah….yes. Well I did say take it easy! You can sit this one out.

Hmm. This week I want to build on my miniature warm-up routine by adding a few simple hints and tips designed to work with, temper and enhance those exercises and ease you into a better, more healthy and more mindful way of working.

And by the way, something I didn’t go into that much last week. Think carefully about where you exercise. Find a comfortable and warm place and, try not to be interrupted. This woman hasn’t thought it through…

What could possibly go wrong?
What could possibly go wrong?

Oh, and another point before I start, I would like to scold my erstwhile colleague Holly. She informed me last week that she was going to write a missive about your knees and how to help them. I think she got rather carried away writing about films instead – typical – so here is the link she should have included to some helpful mid-leg joint exercises. You really have to love your knees,  they take a lot of strain so try to keep them trim and strong; and besides, without them what would you get down on to apologise when you turn up late from the Rat and Gadget after two many pints of Ricket’s Mild Gutwrencher?

Your knobbly friends...
Not mine….

Now, back to my hints and tips as follows…

  • Pace yourself. It’s not a race. Do the hard stuff first, before you’ tire yourself out and become more likely to overexert.
  • Don’t hunch. If you tend to squat when you’re weeding, keep your back as straight as possible and move along as you weed, and, as when you are pruning, don’t overreach.
  • When lifting, always bend from the knees, never from  the waist, even if you think it’s an easy lift and try to keep your back straight. Use your thigh muscles to do the lifting. Move your feet closer to the object you are lifting and take a wide stance, to balance yourself. Keep the object close to you as you lift it.
  • Never ever lift and twist in the same movement. You’re not a contemporary dancer.
  • Kneel on both knees at the same time to avoid the temptation to twist or strain. Use a knee pad if possible. You can always make one…your partner won’t miss that horrible cushion they brought back from the market.
  • Use tools with comfortable handles. If you don’t have them, wrap the grip with an old piece of hose or coat with rubber paint, for gripping comfort. Remember to change hands from time to time. Keep your hands warm and reguallry shake them loosely to keep the circulation going.
  • When using long handled tools, stand straight and keep your knees nice and relaxed. If you need to twist or pivot, step into the twist to ease tension on the back.
  • Get out that wheelbarrow or wagon and use it. However, don’t overload it.

And that should help. I can hear birds singing, it’s a little warmer than it has been and the sun is shining as I write so I definitely think Spring is finally on its way. I can’t wait to get out there and continue my annual attempt to tame Mother nature and tease the old plot into giving me some lunch. Hoorah! Enjoy your garden.

Drew Hardy

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