Bending to dig, twisting to prune and carrying heavy loads can all mean gardeners end up with unnecessary aches. Here are some expert tips to keep you healthy as your garden blooms

One of the reasons gardening is such good exercise is that the sheer joy of it disguises how hard you’re working, so you end up exerting yourself more than you would at the gym. Scientific studies demonstrate this – not that I need proof. When I manage to steal a moment to prune a tangle of triffids, I have trouble stopping. Before I know it, I’ve been waving a chainsaw aloft on a pole for four hours.

The only downside is that the endless yanking, pushing, lifting and bending can lead to, or exacerbate, aches and pains. NHS Digital figures for 2020-21 (AKA the great lockdown gardening and DIY boom) record 12,355 admissions to hospital in England with injuries related to “overexertion and strenuous or repetitive movements”. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

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