How does gardening make YOU feel?
Spring is most definitely on the way (despite recent flurries of snow of all things!) and it's the
time of year that many of us get back outside and back to the gardening.
But how do you feel about it? To some it's a necessary chore but to others it's absolutely key to their physical and mental wellbeing.
I love being outside and getting the garden tidy and ready for spring and summer enjoyment. It uplifts my mood and makes me feel good.
But going into it unprepared, it can also leave me feeling a little stiff and sore the following day.
Many people love to get out into their gardens but struggle to do so due to pain or injury. Or maybe think that the outcome isn't worth the subsequent discomfort - whether that be sore knees, sore shoulders or back problems.
I would love for everyone who wants to work in the garden to be able do so without the fear of pain and discomfort afterwards.
So how can you prepare yourself so you can get your garden looking fabulous?
1) Warm up
If you are going to an exercise class you probably wouldn't think twice about warming up and getting those muscles and joints moving before the more intense exercise starts - well gardening is a great form of exercise so spend a few minutes walking, bending and moving before ploughing (excuse the pun) straight in!
2) Start slowly
If you haven't done much in the garden over the winter running outside and doing all the weeding, lawn mowing and tidying up in one go might leave you feeling a bit uncomfortable the next day. Be kind to yourself - shorter, frequent sessions are a great way to go to allow your body to get conditioned to the work you are putting it through.
3) Be sensible (and ask for help!)
Putting unaccustomed strain to your muscles can easily lead to strains. If you are trying to lift or drag something heavy consider asking for some help or of course use the right tools for the job - it's much easier to move a load of compost in a wheelbarrow than in a large bucket.
Alternatively is there a way you can split the load into smaller parts to make it easier to carry?
4) Allow yourself to recover
Not allowing recovery time can be a problem (especially early spring if there is a short window of a few nice days!) and if you do have a small strain then going strait back to the heavy lifting can lead to further discomfort as your body works out a way to compensate and other muscles become overloaded.
Try to give yourself the time for those little niggles to settle down. That doesn't mean you can't do any gardening but maybe keep it to lighter, non strenuous work.
If you are finding that you are not recovering as quickly as you would like then seeing your osteopath can be a great way to get professional help to understand why and to get you back on your feet and back to work quickly. We are also here to help you prevent having problems in the first place and can help with everything from designing a gardening warm up specifically for you to helping you regain mobility and strength.
Our green spaces and gardens are a wonderful thing. How does yours make you feel?