Dig this tech­nique

Gardeners' World - - We Love April -

Good news for gar­den­ers who suf­fer from aches in the lower back, neck, shoul­ders and knees – bet­ter dig­ging tech­niques should help re­duce the pain. Re­searchers from the RHS and Coven­try Univer­sity used Lords of The Rings- style 3D mo­tion cap­ture to pin­point good and bad tech­niques. This biome­chan­i­cal mod­el­ling found that bad dig­ging pos­ture dou­bles the load on some joints and puts many of Bri­tain’s 27 mil­lion gar­den­ers at risk. Anal­y­sis of the 3D film of vol­un­teers dig­ging found that min­i­mal back bend com­bined with max­i­mum knee bends and reg­u­lar repet­i­tive dig­ging was the best tech­nique. Bend­ing for­ward a long way and stretch­ing limbs to dig can dou­ble the load on joints and cause mus­cle prob­lems, which can lead to chronic in­juries. Re­searchers found bad tech­niques in­creased strain in the lower back by half as much again and dou­bled loads on the shoul­ders, in­creas­ing the risk of os­teoarthri­tis. Rak­ing, which also uses up­per body mus­cles, re­quired a sim­i­lar tech­nique to dig­ging, while the same care is also needed in trans­plant­ing seedlings and weed­ing, even though they are lower in­ten­sity jobs.

LEFT: Wrong way to dig BELOW: Bend the knees when dig­ging

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