NCTV Episode 14

Continuing with the series of bitesize health tip videos which can be found here on my YouTube Channel, this episode, includes:-

  • 10 Top Tips
  • Injury prevention advice
  • Practical guidance for self preservation
  • Posture check


If you’d prefer to read the content within, rather than watch the video, then feel free to read the transcript, as follows:-

Hello and welcome to NCTV providing you with bitesize bits to help your health (and in this case gardens) flourish. So how I help my garden flourish I hear you ask? Well Episode 14 today isn’t about HOW Mary can help her garden grow, more WHAT Mary (or even you) can do to preserve your body, to enable you to continue gardening, without incurring an injury.

So this week is probably the rainiest week we’ve had in the 13 weeks of Lockdown here in the UK but it has been intermixed with sunny spells and any keen gardener will tell you that this is the perfect storm for encouraging weed growth, especially with it being June, warm and prime weed time anyway.

Gardening is great for you physically and mentally, although as with any exercise, it can be easy to overdo it if you’re not careful.

Many people will have had more time to spend on their gardens due to lockdown, so whether it’s for weeding, potting, planting or even for projects like building your own brick barbeque, bar area or landscaping; in order to keep going, you need to implement some protective measures to avoid working YOURSELF into the ground.

From a self-preservation perspective here are ten top tips on how to protect yourself:-

Firstly, don’t work in the garden immediately after eating as the blood will be directed to the digestive system and not the major muscle groups, putting you at increased risk of strains and sprains.

Secondly, it’s always really important to warm up to prevent injury. It only has to be something like a brisk walk to get the blood pumping and muscles and joints working but that will ensure you’re starting off on the right foot and preparing your body for the task at hand.

Third, start with the lighter activities to ease your body into it gradually, rather than heading straight for the heavier task before you’ve given your body a chance to acclimatise.

Fourth, give yourself a 10-minute time limit on any activity you’re doing. Take a brief pause, straighten up, shake it off, move about, and go back to doing what you’re doing. Maybe even alternate the hand or arm you’re using for your next stint.

Fifth, listen to your body. Your mind and desire will be telling you to plough on and complete the task but consider at what cost. Breathlessness or pain sensations are necessary signals highlighting that you may need to slow down or take a break, so pay attention to what your body is telling you.

Sixth, vary the workload to help avoid overuse injuries and repetitive strain to the hands, wrists or elbows.

Seven, bending and lifting are pretty much unavoidable when gardening so make sure you’re doing it correctly. To lift, have the item close to your body, squat down, straighten your back, look ahead, and lift using the power of your knees and legs, not your back.

Eight, use a kneeling mat to prevent knee pain and backache when planting, weeding or tending to low growing plants.

Nine, use as many tools as you can to assist you rather than relying on brute strength. Long handled tools are especially useful to reduce the amount of bending, reaching or stretching required.

Ten, perform back exercises before and after gardening to mobilise and strengthen the spine. Also, as part of your cooldown routine, be sure to rest afterwards, drink plenty of water and admire your handywork, safe in the knowledge that your silver bells, cockle shells and pretty maids are now all in a row.

That’s all for now, see you next time.