Saturday, 14 March 2015

Gardening without the pain

The gardening season has started and, all over Britain, hundreds of chiropractors are rubbing their hands in glee as thousands of gardeners beat a hasty path to their doors to remove the pain from their shoulders, the ache from their backs and the cricks in their necks… but it needn’t be like that.

There is a myth that things need to hurt after a day in the garden, so accepted by gardeners and physicians alike that nobody bothers to do anything about it other than suffer in silence, reach for the pain killers or give up gardening – which is a shame because gardening is not just good for the soul but can be an excellence source of exercise, fresh air and sunlight, if done right.

Over the next few months, I will be showing you a few simple tricks to take the groan out of gardening without spending a fortune on equipment or hired help – in fact, the only equipment you need for the coming weekend is a piece of paper, a pencil and a ruler!

The trouble with most gardeners in they like to get straight to work and beaver away methodically at a task until it is finished, then stand back and admire their handiwork before hobbling on to the next job muttering about their backs aching from three hours bent double.

To avoid this, draw three columns on your paper: each column represents a 20 minutes slot, each line an hour. Work out what you need to do over the day and break the tasks into manageable chunks, then set an alarm on your watch or phone and stop when it goes off – the weeds won’t go away, they’ll wait until the afternoon… and don’t forget, if you’re #5stepping (and all gardeners should be) to programme in time for a couple of short walks and a drink or two.

If you avoid prolonged stress on your joints, muscles and ligaments, the simple truth is that they won’t hurt you and, at the end of the weekend, you can still stand back and admire everything you’ve achieved – without wincing once!

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