It’s Spring Time! Time to stir from your sofa of winter hibernation, feel the sap rising and get outside and start gardening. That’s great. After all gardening is an excellent way to get physical activity. And active people are less likely than inactive people to have health issues such as be obese, have high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, stroke, depression, colon cancer, premature death etc etc. I think you get the picture. Exercise like gardening is a good thing. Indeed, we should all be active for at least 4 hours a week. That includes activities that raise your breathing rate and heart rate and that strengthen your muscles. And that includes gardening.
But before you rush out and do yourself a mischief, read these four quick top tips for a Spring time of happy gardening.
- Be prepared:
Treat gardening/DIY as a physical activity and make sure your back, neck and other joints do not suffer from a lack of preparation.
Spring is a good time to evaluate your health and fitness, have assessments and prepare for the summer months ahead.
Do some warm up exercises, think of your posture with each different task, change position regularly, have regular breaks and take on plenty of water.
Gear up to protect yourself from lawn and garden pests, harmful chemicals, sharp or motorized equipment, insects, and harmful rays of too much sun.
Lower your risk for sunburn and skin cancer. Wear long sleeves, wide-brimmed hats, sun shades, and sunscreen with sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher.
Powered and unpowered tools and equipment can cause serious injury. Limit distractions, use chemicals and equipment properly, and be aware of hazards to lower your risk for injury.
- Know your limits in the heat.
What heat? you say. But even being out for short periods of time in high temperatures can cause serious health problems. Monitor your activities and time in the sun to lower your risk for heat-related illness.
If you’re outside in hot weather for most of the day you’ll need to make an effort to drink more fluids.
- Take breaks often.
Try to rest in shaded areas so that your body’s thermostat will have a chance to recover. Stop working if you experience breathlessness or muscle soreness. Sit back occasionally and smell the roses.
- Take it steady.
If you have been inactive for a while during the winter break, start out with just a few minutes of physical activity each day. Gradually build up time and intensity.
Digging can be very physically demanding work, made even more dangerous when proper techniques are not employed. Muscle strains are easily caused from attempting to lift too much dirt at one time or overexertion. Muscle pain can be caused by digging for extended periods of time or adopting awkward positions while digging, such as twisting the back or knees. Rather than twisting at the torso or back only, move your feet and turn your entire body when digging or moving dirt.
Use tools with long handles to prevent excessive bending of the torso and make sure you are using the correct tool for the job.
Break jobs into smaller tasks no longer than 20 minutes in length, alternating with non-digging tasks.
Alternate between the left and right side of the body to achieve the tasks. Really good for balanced core stability.
I hope this article helps you enjoy a great Spring in the garden. But if you read this article too late, want to discuss any aspect of it or have any health concerns, then do come and visit the team at Amber Health. We provide healthcare solutions, including osteopathy, and fitness advice for any physical or mental problems and advice is always free.
Check website www.amberhealth.co.uk for more details.