Active ageing in the garden!
Paul Burstow, Minister of State for Care Services has indicated that the awaited white paper on the reform of social care could include schemes to help older people stay more active, by encouraging them to actively pursue hobbies, talents and interests such as gardening.
2012 has been desigated the European Year for Active Ageing by the European Commission and the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) also wants to encourage older people to use activities such as gardening to help keep them fitter, as well as more active and able.
The BCA commissioned consumer research earlier this year, the results of which highlight the need for attention and action, no matter what age you may be:
· One in five (20%) aged 55 and over are most worried about becoming less active as they age.
· 48% of over 55’s admit that they are a lot less active than 20 years ago.
· 51% of over 55 year olds are currently suffering from back or neck pain with 33% of those complaining that they suffer daily and 24% stating they have endured some kind of back or neck complaint for more than 10 years.
Tim Hutchful, BCA chiropractor comments: “Remaining active as we age is important to our well-being and continued health. So, whilst our bodies start to slow down naturally, there are some simple everyday steps that can be taken to help preserve your back and posture into your older years.”
Tim recommends some top tips for older gardeners:
- Don’t wear clothes that are tight or could constrict your movement.
- Gardening is like any other exercise; you need to warm up first. Start off with lighter jobs as this will lessen the chance of muscle strain.- When pruning, get as close as possible to the things you are pruning and avoid overstretching to reach the area you are dealing with. Invest in some long handled secateurs to reach plants and bushes that are beyond normal reach.
and Tim has some general advice too .........
- Vary your activity by spending no more than 20-30 minutes on any one thing and make sure you take regular breaks.
- Stay as active as you can within your physical limitations. Some exercises that may seem daunting or only for the very fit may, in fact, be perfect in allowing you to maintain fitness and mobility if done at a ‘lower’ level. Adding just a few minutes of exercise or stretches to your daily routine could be of benefit (but always talk to your doctor before embarking on new exercises to make sure they are compatible with any known medical conditions or symptoms).
- Walking is a great way to stay active and the benefits underestimated. It is less strenuous on the joints than other forms of exercise but is weight bearing and so can help maintain bone density too.- A moving joint is likely to be less painful than a static joint, so even simple movement, stretches or gentle exercises could help relieve pain.- Promoting core strength and positive posture by doing StraightenUpUK – a series of simple stretches and exercises is a great idea. (click here to view)