As we get older, many of us have back-related problems. Here are some
tips for keeping your back in good working order. Note:
This is not intended as medical advice. Always consult a physician
before attempting any physical activity.
Try do a few stretches before hand. Gardening
is exercise. You would warm up before any other form of exercise.
Caution - Don't do anything that causes pain. Consult your doctor.
Vary your tasks each time. Do a little
bending work, pruning work, digging. etc. and don't overdo any
Watch your posture - bend your knees and keep
your back straight. Hunching over a heavy load is a recipe for
Get down to the work but if you have trouble
moving around once you're on your knees plan ahead. Put all the
tools you'll need in a bucket or container and use a kneeling pad or
kneeler with arms to work from. The arms are good for leverage if
you have trouble getting up afterwards. Plus many of them turn over
to become a bench for a rest afterwards or to vary your position.
If shoveling try to keep your feet wide
enough apart to give your body plenty of support.
Don't twist your body if you can help it, try
repositioning your feet.
Use long handled tools that allow you to work
sitting or standing. A weeder on a stick can save your back from
hours of being bent over in the garden.
Try a reaching tool for picking up litter.
This saves your back the constant up and down movement when cleaning
A garbage pail on wheels can be rolled
around with you to save steps or try a hand-held bag on a pole to
Use raised beds or pots so that you never
have to get down on your knees.
Ask for help. If you have an able bodied
friend, young person in the family or someone who would normally
give you a gift on your birthday or holiday, ask for a gift of work
in the garden. Mixing compost, moving stones, tilling, can all be
wonderful gifts that save your back.
Consider hiring a local student to do the
heavy work that strains your back. Lots of young people can't find
summer jobs and are more than willing to spend a few hours a week
working for you. You might just turn them into a gardener for life.
reserved. The use of any part of this publication reproduced, transmitted
in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying,
recording, or otherwise, or stored in a retrieval system, without the
prior written consent of Garden Forever is strictly forbidden.