In Full Bloom
Gardening Tips to Stay Healthy
Finally! Spring has arrived and gardening season is underway. But, before you break out the trowel, spade, and hose and get gardening, remember that gardening is a physical activity. It is possible to sustain injuries from repetitive motion and over use.
Some common complaints resulting from gardening are muscle spasms, joint issues, inflammation, heatstroke and sunburn. There are, of course, precautions you can take to reduce the likelihood of these things happening to you.
Before you weed, seed or plant:
- Wear sunscreen, clothing that offers sun protection, and a wide brimmed hat. Set up some extra shade nearby for breaks.
- Avoid working in the hottest part of the day.
- Stay hydrated. Keep a water bottle handy while you work.
- Stretch your full body: upper, lower and core. Just like an athlete prepares for their sport, you should prepare before all the bending, twisting, kneeling and lifting that the work demands with a series of dynamic stretches.
- Consider putting in raised beds or taller planters to reduce bending and kneeling.
- Use the right equipment for the job. Be prepared with knee pads and stools for work on the ground and the correct handle length for standing jobs. A foam grip on a handle can reduce hand strain. There are plenty of ergonomic tools on the market that are worth looking into.
- Use the proper lifting technique when lifting items like plant trays and bags of soil. Squat, back straight, and lift with both hands, keeping the load close to your body (a little mud never hurt anyone).
- Switch positions and hands often to reduce strain and fatigue.
- Pace yourself…Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a great garden. Set modest, attainable goals.
- Take breaks. Maybe even stretch some more.
- Listen to your body. When it says STOP, it is time to stop.
Take care to enjoy your green thumb with fewer aches and pains.
Even if you are a seasoned gardener who prepares and works carefully, it is possible to experience muscle stiffness or obtain an injury that requires professional help. Chiropractic care, physical therapy, and massage therapy can all help you recover faster.