How to keep yourself safe:
Overall, gardening will improve, rather than damage your health. However, each year thousands of people in the UK end up in A&E (or in bed!) because of gardening injuries. Most of the following advice is common sense, but it’s worth thinking about.
Have a quick look through this advice from the BBC.
- A major cause of muscularskeletal injuries (strains, pulled ligaments etc) is repetition. Don’t do anything in the garden for too long – chop and change. Ie, if you’re digging repetitively, stop, do something else, then come back to it. If anything starts hurting, change position or just stop.
- If you wouldn’t ask someone else to do it, don’t do it yourself. Ie, would you ask a dear friend to balance precariously on a chair in order to reach that overgrown climber? No? Then don’t do it yourself! No plant is worth a serious injury.
- If you’re not used to manual work, then ease yourself in gradually! You wouldn’t run a marathon if you’d previously only ran for the bus.
- Personally, I don’t use pesticides or herbicides. I think there’s enough evidence on the long-term health effects of the chemicals used in these products to demonstrate that it’s simply not worth the risk. Moreover, if you create a healthy garden – and we’ll look at how to do this – you’ll find you don’t really need them. If you do use chemicals, follow the instructions carefully and keep them away from children and pets.
So let’s get started!