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Posture Tips for Gardening & DIY

 

Whether travelling, undertaking DIY projects, gardening or just lazing about, here are some great tips to help avoid problems with your back and posture.
In the garden….

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

Like any other exercise, when gardening you need to warm up first. Don’t go straight into heavy gardening but start with lighter jobs as this will lessen the chance of muscle strain.

Get close to the things you are pruning and avoid over stretching. Investing in long handled secateurs / loppers is a great idea.

Take regular breaks. Vary what you do or take a break every 20-30 minutes. This will rest muscle groups and help to spread the load.

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, get some help, two people will be needed.

 

DIY Projects

When using ladders or steps, make sure you are always facing it, keep your shoulders, hips and knees pointing in the same direction.

Don’t lean or reach, move the ladder or step regularly to keep up with your progress. Any kind of ladder must be level, firmly and safely planted in position and, if possible, have someone else there to keep an eye on things.

Painting a ceilings, then think about getting the largest amount of paint on in the shortest space of time. Use a paint pad or roller with an extended handle and hold it at chest height. Keep your head as neutral as possible and keep facing forward so you don’t over stretch your neck. If you can lie down – do, you may need a small scaffold for this!

 

Plan ahead

When planning a trip to the local DIY store to buy heavy items such as cement or gravel, buy smaller bags rather than one big bag as they are easier and safer to carry. If buying in bulkier amounts, shovel the contents of the large bags straight into smaller containers or wheelbarrow from the back of the car. Even better get it delivered.

If having items delivered, get them unloaded as close to where you need them as possible this will save the effort of moving them again.

 

Travelling

When flying, drink plenty of water and NOT alcohol during the flight as this will cause dehydration, which could aggravate muscle pain.

Whether travelling by plane, train or car – you will be restricted in your seat for most of the journey. Avoid stiffness by doing shoulder shrugs, buttock clenches and foot circles.

If on a train or plane, try to stand up and move around every 20-40 minutes or, when you stop for a petrol/food break on a car journey, take the opportunity to just stretch and shake out your limbs to allow your muscles to relax. Don’t swap the car seat for a cafe chair, keep moving.

Compensate for your prolonged time of inactivity during the journey by doing light exercise. A brisk 20 minute walk once you have arrived at your destination will help.

 

Staying at home

Although Bank Holiday TV schedules are likely to have plenty to please or you may want to spend time playing your latest computer game, try to avoid sitting for long periods. Take a break at least every 40 minutes (20 is better). Don’t slouch. Watch your posture and sit in a comfy chair.

Make the most of the leisure time and fit some exercise in – whether it be a run, time at the gym or going for a walk with friends and family. Active games such as Wii, Kinect or old fashioned favourites like Twister will help keep you moving.

 

Remember the rule ‘Use it or lose it’.

The less often we use muscles the more likely we are to strain them and the weak they become. Likewise with our joints they become less mobile with inactivity. Pain is an indicator of something not working correctly not a signal to stop.

 

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