New research from the Royal Horticultural Society and Coventry University has revealed that a bad digging technique can “as much as double the load on the joints in the body, leaving people susceptible to chronic injuries”.

Given that the UK has 27 million keen gardeners, that’s cause for concern.

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“Digging is one of the more common gardening practices – whether it be for planting trees, shovelling soil or turning compost – yet we tend to rely upon common sense which can lead to gardeners complaining of aches and pains,” Dr Paul Alexander, Head of Horticultural and Environmental Science at the RHS explained.

We found out everything you need to know about digging the right way.

What is a bad digging technique and what are the risks?

Digging with large forward bend, stretched limbs and uncontrolled erratic motions will put you at risk of injury.

Many gardeners often complain of aches and pains in the lumbar region of the back and if your back takes the brunt of the weight when digging, this could be why.

Your shoulders could also be sensitive, and the study found that bad posture can result in your shoulders feeling the impact of double the load you’re digging.

Large loads at the joints are associated with an increased risk of osteoarthritis – the most common form of joint disease.

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How to dig the right way

For a safer digging technique, it’s recommended to dig with a regular, repetitive motion rather than fast and erratic movements.

To get the posture right, you should stand with minimal bend in your back and instead bend from the knees.

This will minimise the strain put on your back, shoulders and joints.

Have you been digging the right way? Let us know in the Comments section below.