As many of you will be making the most of the sunshine in the garden, here are some tips for you to make your gardening more enjoyable:
Wear warm, comfortable clothes and well fitting, solid shoes when digging or shovelling:
Don’t stoop – keep your back straight and take the strain through your legs.
Stop frequently and change your back position. Either have a rest or alternate between digging with another garden task.
When shovelling, lift small amounts each time and use a long-handled spade and do not rotate your spine – use your feet.
When weeding or planting don’t bend down from the hips. Kneel on a mat or use kneepads and get close to your work. Alternatively use a long-handled fork/hoe.
DO NOT try to lift an object that is too heavy for you. Divide the load and make several trips, roll or push it, or wait for help.
Keep the load close to your body; do not reach forwards for it.
DO NOT rotate your spine if the object is on one side; move your feet so that you are facing it.
Keep your back straight, your head up and your feet about 18" apart. Bend your hips and knees to reach the object. Lift by straightening your hips and knees.
Don’t overload your wheelbarrow.
When pulling up a deep rooted plant:
Keep close to the plant and grasp it firmly.
With your feet apart, crouch and bend your knees and lean away from the plant.
Pull the plant by straightening your knees, keep your back straight and head up.
Move backward with your knees slightly bent, allowing your legs and arms to take the strain.
Don’t swing from your waist when using a hover lawn mower: Use it in the same way you would use a rotary or cylinder machine, i.e. in plough lines. Choose your tools carefully and make sure they suit your height and build. Try out the length of handles and the weight of the tool in the shop before you buy. Long handled spades and pruners can be useful.
Plan a garden you can physically manage, e.g. not too many flowerbeds, easy maintenance plants, raised beds, etc. Have your greenhouse staging at a height at which you can stand without stooping. When doing any gardening task stop about every 20 minutes and arch backwards. Repeat 6 to 10 times.
When relaxing after gardening, do not slouch in your chair. If sitting in an upright chair, keep your back straight. If in an easy chair, put a small cushion or a rolled up towel in between the small of your back and the chair.
- Never wash your hair leaning over the bath or wash hand basin/sink and if the sink is too low perch on a stool or bend your knees.
- If surfaces are too low use an extra chopping board or upturned washing-up bowl so you do not have to bend forwards. Avoid sustained flexing on loading washing machine. Bend your knees and not your back.
- Change the baby on a surface high enough that you do not have to bend forward.
- Remember to brace your tummy when lifting and carrying.
Sitting or Driving
- Try to keep hips higher than knees (try a wedge or sitting on a cushion).
- Avoid sitting for longer than one (1) hour.
- Use pelvic tilts while sitting, to keep your back moving.
- Adjust your desk or chair height.
- Use a sloping board to write on.
- Try a lumbar support.
- Adjust your mirror to encourage good posture.
- Never twist on getting in and out of a car.
- Break up your car journey with stops every 45 minutes.
- Try a telephone directory under the 2 back legs of your chair.
- Wedge baskets in trolley to avoid repeated bending.
- Avoid pushing a heavy trolley around – leave it at the end of each aisle.
- Pack small amounts into each bag.
- Carry one (1) bag in each hand so that you are evenly balanced.
- Never twist when carrying shopping items.
- Always brace your tummy on bending (down and coming up), carrying and lifting.
- Mattress should be firm – not hard.
- Try to keep your back supported in bed e.g. pillows at your waist.
- Kneel on the floor to tuck in sheets. Do not lift the mattress. Never twist.
- Suck in your tummy to brace your back when bending.
- Get fit!!
- Avoid sit-ups and exercises with both legs in the air and jogging!!
- Try cycling and swimming.
- Avoid lifting if possible.
- If you have to lift, remember:
- To bend your knees.
- Keep the inward curve in your back.
- Keep your feet apart.
- Keep the load close to you.
- Brace your tummy in as you lift.
- Use your legs to produce the movement.
- Never twist your legs to produce the movement.
- Never twist while lifting.
- Lift in two (2) stages if necessary.