It’s time to bring out the green thumb because gardening season is upon us. Many enjoy gardening and its numerous health benefits. However, it is important to be mindful of the stress and strain activities such as digging, planting, weeding, and raking can cause. The back, knees, neck, and shoulders can be especially vulnerable to injury.
Here are some tips to minimize and prevent injury while enjoying gardening:
- Don’t forget to warm up before you begin your gardening activities. A brisk walk and some stretches should do the trick.
- Be aware of how your body is feeling as you work. Change positions, switch activities and take breaks frequently to avoid stiffness and cramping.
- Use knee pads or a gardening pad for comfort. When kneeling, consider only kneeling on one knee and keeping the other foot on the ground for better balance and posture. If kneeling or leaning down is too uncomfortable, use elevated planters for your gardening.
- Use a garden cart or wheelbarrow to move heavy plants or tools. If you have to lift something or when pulling weeds, use good body mechanics. Bend your knees, keep your feet about shoulder-width apart, and keep your back straight.
- Similar to before gardening, end your session with a walk and some light stretching.
An old Chinese proverb says “He who plants a garden, plants happiness.” Take these precautions to make sure you stay safe and healthy too!