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Avoiding injury for fair weather gardeners

With all the sunshine and good weather in recent months, have you been tempted out into the garden?

Most of us love being outside in the summer months and as we welcome the long evenings, we turn our attention to the garden. But, beware, if you are not used to the exertion that gardening can cause, you may unknowingly injure yourself. Approximately 87,000* people are injured each year whilst actively carrying out gardening or DIY jobs in the garden, and this is a trend we are familiar with here at Physiocare. With this in mind, we have some top tips to keep you safe this summer:

Do:

  • Make sure you warm up – just walking up and down the garden whilst getting your tools and equipment ready will help your muscles warm up and help prevent sudden strain
  • Make sure you have the right tools for the job – if you are weeding, have you got a long handled hoe? Tthis will reduce strain on your back
  • Check your posture regularly and make sure you stand and stretch every 10 – 15 minutes.
  • Use a knee pad or cushion to give you extra comfort
  • When lifting, take extra care and ensure you bend from the knees and keep your back straight
  • Take your time and enjoy your garden – doing something too fast can cause you to overstretch and cause injury
  • Take regular breaks and drink plenty of fluid
  • Think about the type of plants you have in your garden and look for those that will provide good ground cover and therefore reduce the need for weeding
  • Once you’ve finished for the day, take a walk as it will help to keep you mobile and stop your muscles seizing up
  • Enjoy a hot bath or shower to avoid aches and pains or muscle spasm

Don’t:

  • Stay in one position for too long
  • Lift heavy items, wait for assistance
  • Overload a wheelbarrow – two lighter journeys are better for you then one heavy load which puts more strain on your body
  • Leave your equipment , tidy away otherwise you increase your chance of trips
  • Stay in garden for too long – you can always finish tomorrow!

* The figures are based on the DTI Home Accident Surveillance System Report 2002

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