Stronger, More Flexible, Pain-Free Readers

…tips and exercises from our Award Winning Physio

My name is Natalie March from Physio-logical, a Chartered Physiotherapist based within Active4Less in PO9. I hope you found our last self-help exercises for mid back pain useful.

Now that the better weather is here, many of us are feeling inspired to get out into the garden and start digging! Today we will share with you a few physiotherapy tips to help avoid some common gardening injuries.

Is it important to do a few stretches before and after gardening. No-one would consider running a marathon or going to the gym without doing a warm-up. You are going to do some moderate exercise so it is important to prepare your body.

Gardening Tips

  • Plan your workload – it is important to have a few tasks on the go at the same time, but work a little on each every time you go into the garden, your body will much prefer the variety of tasks.
  • Pace yourself - do not try and dig the whole vegetable patch in one morning, your back and muscles will find it very strenuous.
  • Pruning – do this in moderation it puts a lot of strain on your forearm muscles which can lead to tennis elbow, try and use two hands for tough pruning, also stretching out your forearm muscles will help to reduce muscle soreness.
  • Consider your equipment – use long handled tools if you have problems with your hips, knees or your back
  • Use a kneeler – this will reduce the pressure through the knees
  • Don’t overfill the wheelbarrow – it is better to make a few extra journeys with a lighter load
  • Maintain good posture - squat down and bend at the knees, kneel whilst planting or weeding, don’t just bend at your back.
  • Set a timer to tell you when to have a break, or you may lose track of time and just keep going.

Gardening Self Help Exercises
Here are some simple exercises to do before and after gardening.

Please be aware of your body and take advice from your GP before exercising or send an email to ( for advice and guidance

Lumbar Spine Side Flexion

  • Stand with your arms by your sides.
  • Slowly bend sideways by sliding your hand down your thigh towards the floor.
  • Slowly return to neutral position and repeat on the other side.
  • Repeat 5 times on each side hold the last once for a 30 second stretch on each side.






Thoracic Spine Rotation

  • Sitting
  • Cross your arms over your chest and rotate round to the right then left
  • Repeat 5 times on each side hold the last once for a 30 second stretch on each side.

Shoulder Rolls and Shrugs

  • Roll your shoulders forwards and backwards
  • Shrug your shoulders up and down
  • Repeat each movement 5 times

Forearm Stretches

  • Extend one arm out with elbow straight and use the other hand to grasp it at the side of the thumb and bend the wrist downward.
  • Then, face your palm up and pull your hand back gently to feel a stretch in the forearm
  • Hold each stretch for 3o seconds repeat x 2

If you want to make sure you are gardening fit or are struggling with any niggles, aches or pains which are preventing you from enjoying your gardening then please get in contact with us via or 07835 712306.

Pace yourself, and enjoy a long summer ahead. Don’t let your first trip to the garden be your only one.

Happy gardening! Exercise Sheets Don’t forget to check out our self-help exercise sheets on our website. Please take a look at

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Posted on Wed, 19/04/2017 - 14:57