I'm not known for my gardening skills but even I've been out pottering in the garden lately, and as the weather improves many people are out in their gardens in force, whether they’re watering, weeding, digging, or doing bigger projects so they can enjoy their outside space.
Gardening puts you through a range of movements and can provide a workout for your whole body. The exercise can help to energise you and can also be hugely beneficial to mental health. Finding a connection with plants and the environment can help people on a natural route to wellbeing. The activity can also distract from unwanted or negative thoughts allowing you to clear your mind and relax. Plus, if you've had a bad day, grabbing a shovel and doing some heavy digging or drastic pruning can be a great way to rid of any pent up frustration!
While the physical activity and fresh air is great for our mind and body, it can also lead to aches and pains if we’re not careful. Much the same as a good workout at the gym. Here are some tips to get the most out of gardening:
Hydrate yourself before, during and after you garden. Hydration is important all year round but particularly in hotter weather.
Wear gloves to protect your hands and a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen to protect you from the sun.
If you can squat while gardening, do. It is one of the best ways to maintain balance and keeps ankles, hips and the lower back strong and flexible.
Use padding equipment, such as knee cushions, to help minimize the pressure on your knees if you are kneeling on the ground.
Choose tools that minimise bending or reaching like long handled rakes and pruning shears, and lightweight tools and mowers etc. to minimise strain on the body.
Be mindful of how you move. Make sure that you’re not doing too many repetitive motions, avoid over-reaching or stretching too far and always bend with your knees when lifting, not your back.
Take breaks and stretch if you need to. Don’t try and do too much in one go, particularly if you have an existing injury.
If you do find that you’ve developed aches and pains after gardening, or you’re feeling stiff, why not try a sports massage. Don’t be fooled by the name, it’s not just athletes that can benefit, gardening still counts! Any questions get in touch or make an appointment.