First things first – warm-up and stretch
Gardening can be arduous, especially if you haven’t done any for a while. Before you start do some simple stretches to loosen and warm up your muscles. You are less likely to strain your body if you warm up first. In particular, make sure that your lower back is well covered up to protect your back. Many garden centres sell gilets and tops specially designed for gardening which cover the lower back and hips.
Lifting Pots and Planters
Be very careful moving pots, planters or other heavy objects. If it’s too heavy for you to lift easily get some help. If you are confident, follow the following 10 point plan:
- Plan what you are going to do: clear a path for where you are going. If you are lifting with someone else agree your plan
- Place your feet shoulder width apart
- Bend your knees and keep your back straight. Never bend to lift anything. Do not twist and lift at the same time as you could risk a slipped disc in your back!
- Tighten your tummy muscles to protect your back as you lift
- Lift close to you body, this will make you more stable
- Lift with your legs. Your leg muscles are much stronger than your back
- Look slightly upwards – this helps keep your spine straight
- Take short steps and don’t hurry
- Bend your knees – not your back – to place the object down/li>
- Keep breathing!
Enjoying the Sun
Sunlight is an important source of Vitamin D. Many of us are Vitamin D deficient after the winter so it’s wonderful to get a little sun on your face and arms. Unless you have particular skin sensitivity, sun exposure before 10am and after 5pm in the summer months should provide enough ultra violet light to stimulate production of Vitamin D whilst dramatically reducing the risk of contracting skin cancer. But if it’s sunny, apply sunscreen to exposed skin to protect yourself during the middle hours of the day. If you suffer from the heat, plan to work in shady areas of your garden in the heat of the day. Be wary of a breeze on a sunny day as the sun may be stronger than you think.
Keep well Hydrated
To help avoid fatigue keep well hydrated and take time for a quick snack. It’s a good idea to take some water out into the garden with you or put a glass of water on a window sill by an open window so you stop for a drink when you need it without trailing mud into the house!
Don’t overdo it
There’s always so much to do in the garden it’s tempting to ‘go for it’ when the sun comes out. Pace yourself and take regular breaks. Be especially careful when using electric equipment such as hedge trimmers if you are not used to them. With overuse the vibrations can lead to inflammation ‘tendonitis’ of elbows and wrists as well as very achy shoulders and arms. Take a break every 30 minutes of so to survey your good work, have a stretch and a drink of water.
Wind down in the warm
If your muscles cool down too quickly after gardening they’re likely to stiffen up. So it’s important to keep warm afterwards and, if you’re feeling a bit damp and sweaty, change into some warm dry clothes. Ideally, treat yourself to a warm bath and relax.
If you do hurt yourself gardening, seek professional advice. Left unattended gardening pains and strains can develop into niggling long term niggling problems.
More and more people are turning to acupuncture to help relieve their health problems and keep them active and well. It is widely accepted that acupuncture can be useful for the treatment of pain, such as low back pain and osteoarthritis of the knee. The NHS recommends acupuncture for the treatment of chronic back pain, headaches and migraines. The World Health Organization lists over 100 other conditions for which the therapeutic benefit of acupuncture has been shown.
Very simply, acupuncture helps the body heal itself by stimulating the body’s natural healing mechanisms and promoting physical and emotional well being. Regular acupuncture can help boost your energy and immune system and prepare you for the changing demands of the seasons. Acupuncture can be used safely and effectively alongside conventional medicine.
Tunbridge Wells and Crowborough based acupuncturist Judy Bowen-Jones uses classical acupuncture and massage to help clients with a wide range of acute and chronic conditions. Including:
Back and joint pain
Muscle aches and pains
Hayfever,asthma and allergies
Stress, anxiety and depression
Insomnia and fatigue
Male and female fertility
Menstrual and menopausal problems
01892 664 939 07593 341 439
“Classical acupuncture treats you as an individual. We are all different. If you would like to call me to discuss your symptoms before making an appointment I would be happy to help.”
Judy Bowen-Jones MBAcC BSc Lic Acup
Registered Member of the British Acupuncture Council