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We’ve all done it – “I’ll just do a few jobs in the garden……” and the next day you can barely move!

Many people don’t really consider gardening to be exercise but the truth is – it is!

You need to warm up, cool down and you need to stretch if you are going to avoid the Monday morning body seize!

Whilst we would love all our patients to prepare for the day with a thorough yoga routine we know that many of you just don’t have the time so here are some basic and simple stretches to get you started:

As with all stretches, maintain a good  posture and hold the stretch until you feel you have made some progress – and no bouncing!

Hamstring stretches

These are essential to help to avoid over straining your back. When your hamstrings allow better movement at the hips your low back is less likely to be recruited for flexion (bending over) and therefore overworked. Lift your toes up and flex at the ankle to increase the stretch and invite the calf muscles to join in with the stretch. The key to this stretch is to keep your posture. Stay nice and tall!


Pectoral  stretches

Gardening involves a lot of work with your arms in front of you which makes good use of the pectoral muscles so give them a thorough stretch beforehand.

Again keep a nice, tall posture throughout. These pictures show two different stretches that both target the pectoral muscles. The key to the one shown using the tree here is to keep the right angles at your shoulder and elbow and to lean forward past the tree. It also works well using a door frame instead of a tree – you could even save time by doing both at once!




Triceps stretches

These also stretch part of the shoulder so they are a good way to prepare your arms and shoulders for digging and heavy weeding.

The first stretch here will target the left triceps but if you’re really good  try the second version on both sides and get the benefit of stretching different parts of the shoulder.


Neck stretches

We have already produced a log about these stretches but it is worth emphasising the importance of mobilising the neck and the upper part of the shoulder complex. If you have pots to lift and sacks of compost to shift you need to do these first!


reinforced neck stretch 1reinrforced neck stretch 3

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Pilates is an exercise system which stretches and strengthens the body.  It focuses on precision, control and movement quality as well as helping with balance, muscle-strength, flexibility and posture. So, naturally we recommend that our patients invest their time in Pilates to help with existing complaints and to avoid future problems. For three years now we have referred our patients to Jackie Whitley. Jackie is a Body Control Pilates Level 4 Specialist Instructor which means she is qualified to work with people diagnosed with non- specific lower back pain. Jackie is able to work one to one and in small groups. Even clients who regularly attend a class have benefitted from a one to one session every few months, where you can concentrate on exercises you find difficult and make sure you are progressing.  For advice about Pilates and to book with Jackie call her on 07794 271816.


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In the past, we may have recommended that you use supports for your back or other joint instability. We have several supports available for trial by our patients some of which we are able to sell at trade price. So for advice on supports and to try before you buy, just call us on 01732 760720.

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As the temperature drops we tend to see an increase in muscle strains and spasms. Many people suffer more with neck pain during the colder months. Remember to stretch your neck to each side every day and reward your neck muscles with a heat pack across your shoulders in the evening. If you do strain your neck call us for advice as you may need to rest and use ice to bring inflammation down.

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