Spring is upon us and it’s that time of year to get out in that garden, tackle those weeds and start to prepare for the nicer weather – whether it’s out of choice or because someone has nagged you to do it!
Here are our top tips to avoid injury, whether you’re gardening, painting the shed or washing the patio!
Warm up before starting
You wouldn’t go for a run or start a gym workout without warming up your body – so make sure you do the same before you start work. Go for a brisk walk around the garden, get the blood circulating round your body & do a few gentle stretches to loosen your muscles before you start that weeding!
Cool down when you finish
Same as tip number one – make sure you wind down to a stop and do some more gentle stretches when you finish to stop your muscles stiffening up after your activity. Don’t just sit down and admire your hard work (as tempting as it might be!).
With the longer days, bank holiday weekends and nicer weather, it’s tempting to do all the work in one day to keep the rest of your time free or keep going for long periods – but this could lead to overworked and over strained muscles and joints. Spread your jobs out evenly over the days, evenings and weekend and build up to the harder jobs.
Variety is key
Try to avoid spending time in prolonged positions – by varying your tasks, you will limit the strain you put on each body part. For example, do 30 minutes of weeding, 30 minutes of digging and then 30 minutes of mowing the lawn. Put some mini breaks in between each job to have a rest, stretch and drink.
Keep your feet facing the same way as your hips and shoulders – this stops any rotational strain through your body. Stand straight as you mow the lawn or push a wheelbarrow and keep everything you need close by to avoid twisting to reach it.
Keep everything at the correct height
If you are working at a bench, make sure you don’t have to crouch or stretch to reach it – this could put extra strain on your back. If you’re working at a height, use a ladder or step to stop straining your neck by looking up for long periods.
Lift with your knees, not your back
When lifting heavy objects, make sure to bend your hips and knees to help support your back. Holding the object closer to your body will also help reduce any extra strain – so make sure to wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty!
If you do injure yourself – don’t panic! Have a look back at our previous blogs on using heat vs ice and the ‘POLICE’ method of self treatment. If in doubt, give our friendly Patient Care Team a call and book an appointment with one of Physiotherapists at goPhysio. We’ll be able to assess, diagnose and treat any injury and give you the best advice on how to treat and prevent another episode!
You can also book an appointment online 24/7 here.