By: Gareth Sneath, PT, MCPA, Grad Dip Man Ther, MScCH

This has been a long cold winter, but spring is here! It shouldn’t be too long before those of us with green thumbs turn our attention to getting the garden in shape. But how ready are we for this physically demanding activity? All that bending, stooping, kneeling, lifting and carrying of plants, pots and soil can cause injuries – particularly after a winter of hibernation.
What can you do to minimize the risk of injury? Here are some tips to keep you injury free:
1. Plan and pace your activity, don’t try to do everything in one weekend.
2. Take breaks from prolonged activity or stooped positions.
3. Know your limitations. Soil and plants can be extremely heavy. Your back is most vulnerable when bending forward and twisting. Get help, use a wheelbarrow.
4. Wear the right protective gear, don’t mow the lawn in sandals, wear gloves when pruning.
5. If you have to lift heavy material, get help or minimize the risk by bending your hips and knees, keep your back straight and hold the load close to your body.
6. Carrying loads over distance is far easier using a wheelbarrow.
7. Start working on your fitness now to get ready for the May planting marathon.