Gardening is a dangerous activity?
A recent newspaper article claimed that gardening can be a dangerous activity and while I think that it greatly exaggerates the problem there is definitely an element of truth to it.
In one year, 300,000 people in the UK attended A & E departments after having an accident in the garden with 87,000 people actually injured while gardening! Top of the list of most dangerous pieces of equipment is the lawnmower, with 6,500 accidents reported. Flowerpots were the second most dangerous causing 5,300 accidents. Falls, cuts and lifting injuries were some of the other common types of accident reported.
Some of the more common gardening problems you want to avoid include:
- Gardeners’ back which is another name for low back pain caused by digging, raking and lifting heavy objects.
- Weeder’s wrist where wrist pain and stiffness occur due to over-zealous weeding or overuse of the garden shears.
- Pruner’s neck with neck and shoulder pain caused by pruning those high branches on hedges and trees.
Using gardening equipment safely (especially lawnmowers!) will obviously be very high on your priority list, but when it comes to avoiding injury taking care of your body should be viewed with equal importance.
This advice should help you to avoid some of the common problems listed and help to keep you pain-free:
- Try to begin your gardening session with a warm up routine by taking a brisk 5 minute walk to help get your heart pumping and warm up your muscles ready for all that weeding, digging and potting out.
- Set a 10 – 15 minute time limit on any activity to help spread the load on your muscles and joints as this will make a repetitive strain injury much less likely. Whenever possible change the hand/ arm you are using for a particular job as this will also help reduce any problems.
- Listen to your body and if you start to feel some discomfort while carrying out a task don’t ignore it, slow down or take a break.
- Protect your back by keeping it straight, avoiding any twisting movements and bend at your hips and knees. This means that when you lift you will use the powerful leg muscles rather than your weaker back muscles!
- Keep hydrated and drink plenty of water to replace any fluids that you might lose due to sweating.
- When planting or weeding use a foam-padded kneeler or knee pads to avoid developing knee pain.
When the gardening has been done, I advise carrying out some simple stretches like these, they will help to reduce any aches and pains and you will feel much better the next day. A nice warm bath will also help to keep you nice and flexible.
Following this advice should help to make your gardening a less ‘extreme’ activity, but if you do have any concerns please call me on 01604-532853 or email email@example.com and I will do my best to help resolve those aches and pains.