Spring is a great time to get back into the garden after those long, cold winter months. The first signs of new life are peeking up from the ground and it brings new hope and excitement for the warmer months. Gardening has long been seen as an excellent recommended form of exercise to help tone and improve mobility. A lot of research has also shown it can help towards good mental health.
When you’re focusing on a mindful task, it makes exercise seem far less of a chore and even enjoyable. With so many varied tasks to be getting on with in the garden, you probably won’t realise the workout you are getting. Even more reason then to take care of your body and not over exert yourself.
Here are my top tips for protecting your body whilst gardening:
- Try to warm up and stretch before you start gardening. Perhaps you could take a gentle stroll around the garden to take a look at what you want to achieve whilst warming up your muscles.
- Pace yourself! Be realistic about your limitations and what you want to achieve versus what you can physically do.
- Ask for help if you are lifting anything awkward or heavy – try not to put too much strain on your back and muscles. Sharing out a heavy load will reduce the risk of injury.
- When you do lift something, whether it’s a bag of soil or a wheelbarrow, get a sense of the weight first and keep a straight back and bend those knees.
- Wear gloves (your hands will also appreciate a nice moisturiser at the end of the day to keep them soft). Comfortable shoes with a bit of bounce and a heel will keep you well supported. If you’re on the ground kneeling down, a kneeling pad can be your saving grace.
- Take regular breaks! The perfect excuse to pop the kettle on and take stock of what you’ve achieved so far. Try not to stop completely or it’s likely you will slump on the sofa and not want to get back up again but regular breaks will give your body the change to relax and renew those energy levels.
- Once you’re done for the day, some gentle stretches should ease out any aches. A nice warm bath with essential oils (lavender is lovely and soothing) and Epsom salts will really help you relax and keep any aching muscles at bay the next day.
If you’re unsure about undertaking any form of exercise or what you should or shouldn’t do, always seek professional advice.