Many of you will be venturing in to the garden or allotment shortly and after many hours of strenuous effort will end up with mild to serious backache which then affects work and home, social and fitness activities for anything between a couple of days to weeks and months. This happens every year to many of you so, with this in mind, I decided to produce a list of do’s and don’ts. I hope this will help.
- Limit your first session to ONE hour then leave it for a few days before your next session. Build up to longer effort gradually & have a day off in between stints. Gardening moves are quite specific and some quite strenuous. To attempt to do several hours of full on work with no prior training, warm up, or previous smaller stints is like spending 6 months doing no more than walking to the local shop and back every day and then trying to do a ten mile walk up Ingleborough (2000ft).
- There are six specific moves which will challenge your body and if you push too far with any of them, or worse still attempt to combine them, you are asking for trouble;
- Pulling eg. weeding. – engage the core, stay close, keep your back neutral.
- Lifting eg. bags of soil, weeds etc. – same as above, plus lift with the legs and don’t make the load too heavy (lazy mans load).
- Bending bend at the knees not the back. Keep neutral, keep close to your work area, NB avoid bending and lifting together.
- Twisting whenever you twist it puts stress on your core. Try to avoid it by good positioning before starting. If you then add pulling or lifting or bending or all three!?!! You are likely to be in trouble.
- Reaching Far - Shoulders and back both at risk. Keep shoulders away from the ears. Try to keep back straight. Do not lift or pull if bent over.
- Reaching High – Keep shoulders away from the ears. Practise this in pilates. Use steps to get high or ask somone taller!
Have a good summer and good gardening. Kirsten
Pilates can help you develop good postural habits, a strong core and other muscles which will help to avoid injuries during work, sports or hobbies. It helps to make your movements more efficient and body awareness should help to ensure you do not push your body beyond its endurance.
Try not to work until exhausted as good technique goes out the window and mistakes more likely to be made.