Advice on Gardening

Advice on Gardening


Don’t over do it with the trowel!

As a nation, we love our gardens and spend a considerable amount of time and money on them. As we rush to get those jobs in the garden done, there is a risk that gardeners may injure themselves.

What everyone wants is to be fit and healthy enough to actually enjoy sitting in their garden and enjoy the fruits of their labours come summer time, so here are some helpful tips from the British Chiropractic Association.

Dress appropriately

  • Don’t wear clothes that are tight or constrict your movement.

Gardening is like any other exercise; you need to warm up first

  • Don’t go straight into heavy garden work, start off with lighter jobs first. This will lessen the chance of muscle strain.

Don’t twist

  • If you have to use a ladder for any of your gardening tasks, make sure you are always facing it. Rather than lean or reach, move it regularly.
  • When using the ladder, always keep your shoulders, hips and knees pointing in the same direction.
  • Make sure the ladder is firmly and safely planted in position and, if possible, have someone else standing there to keep an eye on things.

Clever pruning

  • Get as close as possible to the things you are pruning; avoid overstretching to reach the area you are dealing with.
  • Invest in some long handled secateurs to reach plants and bushes that are beyond normal reach.

Digging deep

  • When digging, try not to bend or twist during the movement and alternate the foot you use to drive the spade into the ground.
  • Raking is best achieved with short movements; don’t reach out too far.


  • Use a mat and kneel when doing close weeding work or planting out.
  • When potting up your plants, it is much better to do this at a table.

Take a break

  • Vary your activity; spend no more than 20-30 minutes on any one thing and take regular breaks.

Be clever with the paving

  • If laying a patio keep the slab close to your body and bend your knees.
  • It is sometimes better to bend one knee rather two, as your supporting leg gives you a position of strength.
  • If using railway sleepers, two people will probably be needed.

Plan ahead

  • If you are planning a trip to the local DIY store and buying heavy items, such as cement or gravel, buy smaller bags rather than one big bag as they are easier and safer to carry.
  • If you do buy heavy items, ask an assistant at the store to help you.
  • Shovel the contents of large bags straight into smaller containers or wheelbarrow from the back of the car.
  • If having items delivered, have them unloaded as close to where you need them as possible; this will save the effort of moving them again.
  • A specialist garden trolley might be worth investing in to move these sorts of materials around, especially so if you have lots of patio pots to move around as well.

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    Original Content © British Chiropractic Association. All rights reserved.
    No part of this document may be reproduced without permission. 2008
    59 Castle Street, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 7SN 0118 950 5950 www.chiropractic-uk.