SPRING

A few sunny days and we are all going out into the garden. Firstly we have to clear up what was left after the winter but we must remember that we have not been out gardening for some time.

Warm up first! Do some gentle stretches and large arc movements with your back, shoulders, hips and knees. You will feel more supple quite quickly and are then ready to ‘take it on’. It is important to break often at the beginning. Avoid making repetitive movements such as sawing or pulling and alter your activity frequently.

Avoid lifting at arms’ length, keeping loads close to your body. Kneel down, preferably on one knee rather than bending from the waist. When sweeping and raking, it is easier if the broom is pulled towards you rather than to the side. Crouch down rather than bending down, to clear any piles of leaves or grass.

Potting/planting – use a mat and kneel rather than bend when doing close weeding or planting. Change positions regularly. Try kneeling on one leg for a while. If you have to lean over a border, use one of your arms to support your body.

Digging – alternate the foot you use to drive the spade into the ground. Keep your feet hip-width apart and use your legs rather than your back. Alternate which hand is at the top and bottom of the spade and which side you throw the soil. Take small spadefuls and take regular breaks.

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