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Green exercise

Gardening is a great form of exercise everyone can enjoy. Here are some top tips for minimising aches and pains while still experiencing the benefits.

Whether it’s pruning branches, mowing the lawn, carrying a watering can or digging, gardening can involve walking, bending, stretching, lifting and reaching to give your muscles, heart and bones an excellent workout.

While gardening can certainly increase your fitness, remember these key tips for avoiding aches and pains:

  • Always warm up with some simple stretching exercises
  • Keep the spine in a neutral position rather than slumped forward
  • Regularly change jobs and limit the time spent on any one activity to 20 minutes
  • Lift correctly – remember to bend your knees and keep your back straight
  • Don’t grip tools too hard and keep your wrist in a neutral position with the hand straight out
  • Use both sides of the body – for example, when digging, change the digging foot routinely
  • Keep hydrated – dehydration can lead to increased muscle stiffness after exercise