With the clocks going back and the temperature plummeting this week, we’re really feeling the start of the colder months ahead.

Whilst Autumn is a beautiful season with all the trees turning gold and rust around us, it’s also a time of maintenance in the garden as the trees shed their leaves everywhere!

Many of our patients at Frameworks are keen gardeners, mostly because it’s such a hugely enjoyable pastime, but also because it is great exercise.  We actively encourage patients to continue with gardening pursuits or other activities, as it’s very beneficial to keep moving.  However it’s really important to know that overdoing it can put strain on the body and may bring about at episode of back or neck pain.  So, in order to stay limber safely we’ve compiled some advice to maximise enjoyment and minimise any negative effects of garden work.

Top Tips for Pain-free Gardening this Autumn

#1 Wrap up warm – layer up clothing to keep your body warm.  Take care not to wear anything too tight or restrictive though.

#2 Warm Up – Start with some gentle warm up exercises to get your body ready for some exercise.

#3 Light Work– Start with light work until you feel warmed up, before you move onto heavier work such as moving pots.  If you are raking leaves to begin with, keep your body in line and don’t overstretch or drag the rake.  Use short, precise movements until you form your leaf piles.

#4 Lifting – When it’s time to collect the pesky leaves, bend your knees, keep your back straight and avoid any twisting when loading them into the wheelbarrow.

#5 Pruning – get as close as possible to the bush or plants to avoid overstretching, you might also want to invest in long armed secateurs to minimise stretching.

#6 Planting and Weeding – kneel or squat as close as possible to the beds to avoid any overstretch.

#7 Moving around – if you’ve bought bags of compost, make sure not to overdo it when taking them out of the boot of the car!  Push the wheel barrow up to the back of the car, and shovel the compost straight from the boot into the barrow.  Smaller loads will be much more beneficial to your body!

#8 Listen to your body – the best advice we can give is be aware of what your body is telling you!  If something feels too much, then it probably is!  Vary your work to avoid repetitive strain – 20-30 mins per task is plenty.  Also drink plenty of water (or tea!) to stay hydrated.

Happy Gardening!