1. Small Doses – If you have had your feet up all winter and then suddenly do six hours’ gardening, your back is really going to feel it. Stick to doing small bouts of gardening to start with and gradually increase the length of each session over several weeks. You might start with 15 minutes gardening followed by a 10 minute break, and build up to 60 minutes followed by a 10 minute break after 2-3 weeks.
  2. Use Your Wheelbarrow – Needless to say it saves you carrying heavy compost bags around, but by keeping seed packets and tools in a wheelbarrow rather than placing them on the floor you are saving much bending.
  3. Warm Up – Try to leave tasks that require bending until you have been on the go for at least a few minutes. Ideally, start with the hanging baskets, raised beds, window boxes and pots, and then move on to working on the beds at ground level. But don’t leave all of your bending and low level tasks right until the very end, or your muscles will be fatigued and less able to support your spine.
  4. Get The Right Gear – Owning the right tools for the job, and keeping them in top condition is such a good investment. The difference between a sharp pair of secateurs and blunt blades is astronomical, and a owning a hoe could save you hours of weeding on your hands and knees.
  5. It’s All In The Hips – The idea that you should bend with your knees is a myth. Use your hips to bend. Just as young children do, if you can push your hips backwards as you bend down both your knees and lower back will thank you. You may feel like you are falling over, so be careful.
  6. Try The No-Dig Method – Instead of turning over your soil beds every year and digging in plenty of manure/compost, simply spread that organic matter over the top of the soil and let nature do the rest. Rain and soil dwelling organisms will save you plenty of hard work.
  7. Take a Trip to the Chiropractor – Gardening is fantastic exercise, and if your body is working efficiently it should not cause discomfort. A quick MOT from the chiropractor can stop any niggles before they become problematic.

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