Gardening is a great way to get outdoors, and it is also a fun way of getting some exercise. But while you work in the garden you are often using muscles that you don’t use in your day to day routine

Put a little time aside before and after each gardening session to warm up and cool down.

Bend with your knees and keep your back straight when bending down to pull weeds.

Use long handed tools where possible to stop you from having to bend over too often

Do not stay in one position for too long as your muscles may start to seize up.

Do not over do it - divide work into manageable loads and spread this over a few days.

Take regular breaks; use the time to drink sips of water as this helps re-hydrate the muscles

Ease the strain – change your position regularly to take the pressure off your back. Prolonged activities where your back is bent can weaken the muscles and leave them susceptible to injury use a mixture of positions such as sitting, crouching, kneeling and standing.

Recovery time - a nice hot bath at the end of the day, can be incredibly relaxing for the muscles (particularly if your back has been exposed to the cold).