Growth pain? : How to avoid injury during gardening – from basic exercises to perfect posture | Gardening advice

OOne of the reasons gardening is a very good exercise is that the pure joy of it disguises how hard you are working, so you will exercise yourself more than in the gym. Scientific research shows this-I don’t need proof. When I managed to steal a moment to get rid of the triffid entanglement, I have a hard time stopping. Before I knew it, I was shaking the chainsaw high on the pole for four hours.

The only downside is that endless pulling, pushing, lifting and bending can cause or exacerbate pain and pain. NHS Digital figures for 2020-21 (also known as massive lockdown gardening and DIY boom) document hospital admissions to UK hospitals for injuries associated with “excessive exercise and strenuous or repetitive movements.” I am. But it doesn’t have to be like this.

Madeline Hooper, a retired public relations executive in the Hudson Valley north of New York, can no longer ignore neck pain. “I love gardening,” she says. “And it doesn’t matter how long it takes to weed the bed. I’m weeding the whole bed. But I had terrible neck and upper shoulder pain.” Motivated type She turned to Jeff Hughes, a personal trainer who worked with a simple and sensible approach. The pair is currently teaming up on a US television show called Garden Fit. There, they travel all over the United States, admiring the garden and helping to educate the world on how to make a garden painlessly.

The first thing you need to know is that attitude is everything. “If you have your head behind, your chest bulging, and your shoulders down, you feel tall and powerful,” says Hughes. “No matter what you do, you get the right muscles, but when you hunt, you get muscles that aren’t designed to do the job. And that’s what we do. That’s what we do when we’re tired. “

Hooper’s technique was a perfect example of this. “Your shoulders lift your arms,” ​​says Hughes, “and your trapezius muscles lift your shoulders. You’re doing something all day and your shoulders are your arms. If you get tired of lifting your body, your body is smart. It goes: What else can you lift your arms? Suddenly you’re doing something that your trapezius muscles aren’t designed for. , Your neck will hurt. “The solution is simple. “If your shoulders get tired of lifting your arms, stop lifting your damn arms.

“As soon as you start to realize that you can’t keep your posture right, do something on the ground or grab a shovel and dig. Now you’re heading in the opposite direction on your shoulders. “

“Keep exchanging jobs” … Danny Clark. Photo: Black gardener

British garden designer and television host Danny Clark follows a similar philosophy. “Keep exchanging jobs,” he says. “I always say” a little and often. ” He has his own sequence. “I don’t lift or dig heavy things. I warm my body by mowing.” He came from a sports background and said, “I have my body and what I can and cannot do.” I know it well. ” For some, mental adjustments are needed to let go of completing a task in one session. “The garden is never completed, so don’t try to complete it,” Clark quietly says. “That’s its beauty. It’s endless. Enjoy every moment. Enjoy.”

Strengthening exercises may be required to correct the pain-inducing posture. Hughes remembers a gardener called Bob who appears on a television show with back pain. “When he walked, he wasn’t standing straight,” says Hughes. “The waist supports everything above it, so bending over makes me nervous.”

If this sounds like you, I suggest you try this. “Relax your shoulders,” says Hughes. “Imagine wearing your favorite blue jeans. Slowly pull out your shoulder blades and slide them into your back pockets.” This will cause your chest to bulge, make it easier to breathe, and align your spine. A pivot effect is created. While holding this, he adds, “Now, no matter what muscles are starting to get tired, it’s your weak muscles that you need to strengthen.” He says that the longer you stay in this position, the more training you have for these weak muscles, and eventually you will be able to work automatically.

To awaken these muscles with Bob, Hughes gave him an elastic exercise band to bring forward like a handlebar and then lifted it over his head. Bob marveled at his new ability to stand upright, and the effect was immediate. “The overall perspective changes because of the improved peripheral vision,” says Hughes. Hughes prescribed Bob four weeks to practice his new posture and easily repeated some movements with an exercise band every day.

When working in a garden, civic farm, or community plot with the scapula in the back pocket, the next move to the master is what Hooper and Hughes call an “armchair.” Go back when bending or lifting. “When you spread your legs, you automatically approach the ground,” says Hughes. “Everything falls, and when you bend, your knees and hips stick out and you fall into a good squat base.” Then put your arms on your feet. “Now your hips aren’t supporting your body. Apply it for the next eight hours and your back will be your best friend at the end of the day.”

If one arm is used for weeding or sowing, the other supporting arm can be left on its leg, but it is important to switch arms. Hughes says it is essential to train your non-dominant hands in order to make a fair share of the work. This not only distributes the load on the arms and shoulders, but also “makes it more balanced with twists. It’s starting to balance the torso.” Similarly, if he’s on a ladder, he It states as follows.

In the position of the armchair, Hooper and Hughes show how to save your back when working near the ground
Hooper and Hughes show how to save your back when working near the ground. Photo: Garden Fit

Balance reappears on the last top chip of the pair. This is called a “seesaw” and you need to be more aware of your body while working. If you have a heavy clipper and your arms are stretched, you need to push down on your shoulder blades to counter the weight. Then Hughes said: “

Hooper says that within four weeks of integrating Hughes’s fix into her life, she began to develop healthier habits and feel better. She said, “After six weeks, I never felt any pain in the gardening again.

“I wish I had learned this when I first started building the garden,” says Hooper. In all the gardening courses she has completed and in her books, she says, “No one teaches this.”

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