Gwynedd Tops UK Garden League - City of London is Bottom
August 8, 2004
CSP publishes golden rules for avoiding gardening injuries
97.2 per cent of dwellings in Gwynedd have gardens. This puts the Welsh town top of the UK garden league, according to new statistics from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP). The City of London, where only 2.2 per cent of dwellings have gardens, is bottom of the league.
The regional picture puts Northern Ireland at number one, with 91.2 per cent of all dwellings listed as houses with gardens. The East Midlands (90.1 per cent) and Wales (89.3 per cent) also scored well in the garden league. The figure for all other regions is 80 per cent or above, except in Scotland (63.4 per cent) and London (51.4 per cent).
The survey, prepared for the CSP by Nomis at the University of Durham using information from the 2001 census of population, coincides with the publication of a new CSP guide to safe gardening. These Golden Rules for Safe Gardening (attached below) have been prepared to help cut the number of people needing to visit accident and emergency departments as a result of gardening mishaps, which last year stood at 337, 000*.
Chartered physiotherapist and regular media commentator, Sammy Margo helped draw up the CSP's Golden Rules for Safe Gardening. She said:
'The figures show that most of us have access to a garden. And because all gardens require some level of care and attention, this leaves a huge proportion of the UK population open to all sorts of garden-related injuries.
'Many people overlook the tough physical labour involved in maintaining their gardens and become injured as a result. Stretching, lifting, twisting and bending while tending the garden can force the body into awkward postures. These actions pose a real threat to muscles and joints - especially if they have been neglected through lack of exercise and sedentary living.
'The good news is that many gardening injuries are preventable. By following the advice in the CSP's guide to safe gardening, people can reduce their chances of sustaining an injury in their garden this summer.' For Golden Rules, see Note 2 below.
* The Parliamentary Group on Gardening - April 2003
Note 1: For more information or to arrange an interview with Sammy Margo, please call the CSP press office on 020 7306 6616 / 28 or 020 7306 6163
The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy is the professional, educational and trade union body for the country's 42,000 chartered physiotherapists, physiotherapy students and assistants. A full archive of earlier CSP press releases can be found by visiting www.csp.org.uk/mediagovernment/media/mediareleases.cfm
2. Tools are designed to take some of the strain off you. Look for tools that suit your height and build. Ask for advice when purchasing new equipment
3. Bring your garden to you with raised flowerbeds to reduce the distance you'll need to bend and stretch. Ensure you bend at your knees to minimise stress on your lower back
4. Move heavy items such as paving stones or topsoil a little at a time to reduce the demand on your back, neck and shoulder muscles. Use a wheelbarrow where possible. Your barrow shouldn't be difficult to push - use light loads and make several trips. If you don't have a barrow, try and share the weight with another person
5. Take regular breaks and vary your activities. Staying in one position too long can cause muscles and joints to strain. Garden a 'little and often'. Plan ahead and set realistic goals - aim to do a little each day to avoid over doing it on the weekend
6. When lifting, keep the load close to your body. Bend from your knees (not from your back) and push up with your legs
7. Design flower beds in manageable sizes to avoid over-stretching to reach the middle or far side when tending. Plant low maintenance shrubs and bushes to reduce the amount of time you spend digging, potting and weeding
8. Plant from a kneeling position (use knee-pads, or a kneeling cushion) and don't strain yourself by over stretching
9. Move with your tools and use them correctly. When raking, digging or weeding, move to the areas you are tending instead of stretching with the tools. Don't swing your lawn mower from side to side. Turn your body in line with the mower and keep an upright posture
10. Go with the flow. To water the garden, use a sprinkler or watering hoses that can be put around the garden and left in place all summer
11. Beware of uneven steps, slippery paths and broken paving slabs. Wear suitable clothes and sturdy footwear
12. Accept that if a job is too demanding, it would be safer to get help
13. Don't overdo it. Listen to your body and stop work immediately if you feel any discomfort. Give your body a chance to recover by taking regular breaks and drinking plenty of water
14. Tidy up at the end of the day. Tools left lying around can cause serious injuries. Be especially vigilant if there are children or pets in the garden. Store tools in an orderly way so that they are easy to retrieve
15. When your work in the garden is done, try a little mild, non-impact exercise such
as walking or swimming. This will help your body cool down and can help ward off post exercise muscle soreness. When relaxing, place a cushion between your lower back and a chair, which will help support the natural curve in your spine and relieve tension
If you sustain an injury and don't see an improvement within 48 hours, seek a referral to a chartered physiotherapist from your GP. Alternatively, you can make an appointment to see a physiotherapist privately. Visithttp://www.physio2u.org.uk/ for a list of chartered private practitioners in your area.