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Back to nature - gardening for exercise and health

By West Norwood Therapies Team, May 24 2017 08:00AM

Osteopath and yoga teacher Yinka Fabusuyi considers how gardening can give you some good exercise out in the fresh air at this time of year


Fresh air and exercise is for many people a great combination. Gardening is fantastic exercise and gets you out. Some gardening tasks are strenuous or require repetitive movement through the joints. Whilst most people will feel a little stiff and achy after a stint of gardening which quickly passes, others may find that they have prolonged pain in the lower back, knees or other joints. Osteopathy has a lot to offer. Treatment can reduce pain, improve mobility and get you on the road to recovery. As well as giving you advice and exercises which may reduce the chances of recurrence, my consultations allow time to explore your symptoms, offer treatment, and discuss ways forward.


The human body is strong and designed for movement, however there are some things to encourage, and things to avoid when gardening if possible.


1. When lifting heavy weights bend your knees and keep the weight close to your body in order to decrease leverage through the spine and joints of the arms.


2. Vary your gardening tasks to avoid overuse strains on your neck, back and shoulders.


3. Consider having raised beds made if you have chronic lower back pain.


4. Use mulch on bare patches of soil to discourage weed growth which adds more labour to your gardening tasks.


5. When using a spade or large fork, lean your whole body weight down through the handle rather than thrusting with your shoulders and back.


6. Keep your garden tools in good repair. Keep shears and secateurs sharp and get loose handles repaired to reduce strain to your back, wrists or shoulders. Independent garden centres sometimes offer a tool sharpening service. (My local one does).


Have a fruitful summer.


Yinka Fabusuyi




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