Warm up before you start digging or performing any strenuous garden activity and avoid working on an especially cold day that will chill you through.
* When lifting soil keep your back straight, and use force through the knee
* Work slowly a little area at a time and break every 15-20 minutes to give your body a rest and stretch.
* Break up digging work with other tasks to use different muscle groups
* Avoiding reaching away from yourself too far or twisting while working
* Keep the spade or forkfuls light. Don’t overload the head
* Ensure the handle length matches your height. 70-72cm for a standard height, 82cm plus for taller.
* Rakes and hoes have a relatively light head that can be matched to a longer handle
* Too much of a good thing can be counter productive in the garden. Dig according to the garden’s needs, aerating the soil and introducing organic matter without disturbing its structure unnecessarily.
* Explore no-dig methods of gardening that reduce your need for digging. Manure, mulch and fertiliser are spread over the beds to reduce weeding. Worms will drag the material down into the soil for you. The ‘lazy bed’ has returned a popular approach for growing vegetables such as potatoes
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