Ten Tips for Healthy Gardening


Spring is here and it’s time to get back into the garden. Gardening can be an excellent way of enjoying healthy exercise, but it can also lead to pains and strains if you forget to look after your body while you work.

Elizabeth Street Physiotherapy suggests these tips to help you avoid gardening injuries.


    1.  Begin your gardening session with a few stretches to warm up the muscles and joints you’ll be using. This helps prevent muscle injury and reduces soreness at the end of the day.
    2. Make sure the area you are working in is free of dangers e.g. obstacles such as gardening tools, bags and seedling trays. This prevents slips and falls.
    3. When you begin gardening, vary your activities so you are not in one posture for too long. Never stay in the same posture for more than 30 minutes.
    4. When doing tasks at ground level, like weeding or planting out, kneel rather than bend from the waist. Where possible, keep one hand on the ground for support when you are leaning forward.
    5.  If your garden beds are wide, step into the bed to work rather than lean in from the edge.
    6.  When shovelling, move your feet to change direction rather than twist your body.
    7. Remember the rules for safe lifting:
      • Get a firm footing with feet shoulder-width apart.
      • Bend at the knees and at the hips and use the strong muscles of your legs to lift.
      • Have a good firm grip on the load.
      • Brace your spine and keep your back as straight as possible for the whole lift.
      • Make all movements smooth, avoiding jerking or twisting.
    8. Use a wheelbarrow to transport heavy items – but don’t overfill it. Position the weight over the wheel.
    9.  Observe the basic rules for working safely, e.g.:
      • Ensure heavy equipment and materials or things you use often are stored between your waist and knee level, not overhead or below knees,
      • Where possible, work at benches built to waist height. Clear the ground in front of the bench so you can stand close in.
      • Ensure your equipment is in good repair and the size that feels comfortable for your own size and strength.
      • Make use of aids such as wheelbarrows, kneeling mats etc.
    10. Listen to your body! If it hurts, don’t continue the job, and if pain persists, seek help.
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