Gwynedd Tops UK Garden League - City of London is Bottom

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

Media information:

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

Note 2: CSP Golden Rules for Safe Gardening

CSP GOLDEN RULES FOR SAFE GARDENING 1. Gardening isn't a sport - but it is hard work. Warm up before you start with a few simple stretching exercises. Exercises available at: www.csp.org.uk/physiotherapy/publications.cfm?id=277

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.

Note 3: Tables Numbers %of all household spaces

1 Gwynedd/Gwynedd 50,976 97.4 2 Strabane 12,863 96.6 3 Ballymoney 9,540 96.4 4 Isle of Anglesey/Sir Ynys Mon 28,788 96.3 5 Magherafelt 13,026 96.2 6 Cookstown 10,916 96.1 7 Dungannon 16,421 95.7 8 Moyle 6,005 95.2 9 Limavady 10,545 95.0 10 Armagh 18,522 94.9 11 Durham 205,198 94.8 12 Omagh 16,130 94.6 13 Newry and Mourne 29,041 94.5 14 Fermanagh 20,497 94.3 15 Banbridge 14,935 94.3 16 Down 21,882 94.1 17 Flintshire/Sir y Fflin 58,301 93.6 18 Rutland UA 13,158 93.6 19 Barnsley 89,495 93.5 20 Pembrokeshire/Sir Benfr o 47,567 93.3

Bottom 20 places with the fewest houses with gardens as a proportion of all dwellings

210 Brighton and Hove UA 62,475 52.9 211 West Dunbartonshire 22,500 52.2 212 Inverclyde 19,074 49.2 213 Aberdeen City 50,113 48.2 214 Lewisham 51,721 47.3 215 Dundee City 32,183 45.9 216 Haringey 42,015 44.5 217 Edinburgh, City of 84,751 39.7 218 Wandsworth 43,359 35.8 219 Glasgow City 83,348 29.6 220 Hammersmith and Fulham 22,609 29.2 221 Lambeth 34,880 28.8 222 Southwark 27,599 25.8 223 Hackney 21,443 24.3 224 Islington 16,524 19.7 225 Kensington and Chelsea 14,449 17.4 226 Tower Hamlets 13,133 16.4 227 Camden 13,455 14.3 228 Westminster 11,163 11.4 229 City of London 102 2.2

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