The coming weekend is promising some reasonable weather! But due to Coronavirus we are still careful to venture out too much. So if you have a garden, you may be feel very enthusiastic about getting the garden in shape.
The last thing anyone wants right now, is to end up in A&E with a gardening injury! But it is also worth to take care about the normal garden-related aches and pains like sore shoulders and arms from digging, aching legs from climbing and the odd tweaked back due to heavy lifting. Anecdotally, bank holiday weekends always see A&E admissions soar due to DIY accidents.
If you are going to turn into Alan Titchmarsh this weekend, or plan a flurry in sorting out the garden, the following tips may help to limit the damage:
PS These tips will apply equally well to any other weekend physical activities. This includes paddling pool related issues, putting up tents or gazebos and all the other things we do in the garden to keep kids amused!
Your body is not going to be used to heavy garden work, unless that is your day job. Work kindly with yourself by taking breaks often, not attempting activities meant for 2 people on your own, and noticing where your limits are. This is all in the spirit of the yogic principle of Ahimsa (Non-harming)
- If you are going to do some heavy lifting, make sure to place your legs wide enough to support your lower back, and bend at the knees instead of leaning forward with straight legs. Breathe in and out before you lift, and never attempt lifting weights that are clearly too heavy. Get someone to give you a hand, or just leave it for another day.
- When kneeling to tend beds, or to play floor games, use some cushioning under your knees. It may even be worth sitting down on a little stool or on god’s built-in pillow (Your bottom) to spare the knees and thigh muscles.
- When doing any activities with your arms, from lifting and carrying to digging and mending, pay attention to your shoulder blades. To avoid a stiff neck and shoulders, it’s useful to keep the shoulder blades down where they belong. If they tend to ride up to the ears, it places more strain on the rotator cuffs. Think of broad collarbones at all times.
- At all times, engage you core muscles by thinking of lifting your pelvic floor (imagine holding in a wee ). This will support your lumbar spine and lower back area. So it’s tummy in, shoulders down all the way!
- When digging, pay attention to the side body and try not to twist as you bend forward to avoid straining the lower back. It’s best to keep your knees bent with any forward bending work, with the feet hip-width apart. Swopping the spade to the other hand is a good idea to use both sides equally and avoid straining one side mroe than the other. This will also help neuro-plasticity – learning new things with the opposite side of the brain.
- After collapsing with a G&T or other beverage in hand, treat your body to a few gentle stretches on the lawn. Just lie down on the grass (Or a yoga mat) and gently massage the body into a spinal twist or two. Simply bring the knees to the chest and then drop them over to each side. Follow this with a few bridges to elongate the leg muscles and release tension in the mid-and upper back. Then relax into Child’s Pose or Savasana. Of course, this may inspire you to keep moving so throwing in a few Downward Dogs and a sun salutation or two will make you feel fabulous!
- A hot Epsom Salts bath works wonders for stiff and achy muscles. It’s good for the skin too, so will soothe sunburn, as will adding a few drops of lavender essential oil.
Hopefully, these few simple tips will help keep you safe from injury and able to truly enjoy an active weekend without any sprains, strains or trips to A&E!
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