Spring is just around the corner, which also means that one of the most popular hobbies is as well – gardening! Many people may not think of gardening as physically strenuous, but just like anything else, it can take a toll on your body.
How can you try your best to avoid pain and possible injuries while spending a day in your garden?
- Begin your day with a walk or other mild exercise to warm up your muscles.
- Begin and end your day by stretching your arms, legs, back, neck, and fingers. This will help you to prevent strain and injury. Unsure of what types of stretches you can do? Ask your physiotherapist for recommendations.
- Use a wheelbarrow or wagon to transport your plants, tools, and materials.
- Pay attention to your posture and body movements: (a) Change positions often to avoid stiffness or muscle cramps. (b) Move your feet instead of twisting your body (spine, knees) or over-reaching with your arms. (c) When pulling things or using garden tools, keep your wrists straight and use your shoulder muscles to pull and lift. (d) Bend your legs, tighten your abdominals, and straighten your back to lift bags of soil, pots, and heavy tools, instead of solely lifting with your back. (e) When picking things up, it’s a good idea to hold them close to your body. This will also help prevent back strain.
- When weeding and planting, stay close to the ground instead of standing up and reaching down.
- Protect your knees with knee pads instead of placing them directly on the ground.
- Use high quality, sharp tools to get the job done as easily and efficiently as possible, instead of struggling or having to overwork your muscles.
- Switch between tasks to use different muscle groups, as well as to avoid overworking certain muscles due to too much repetition.
- Take breaks and stretch throughout your gardening session(s).
There is always a chance that you will still encounter some type of pain or injury when doing any type of activity, regardless of how careful you may be. If you find yourself in this position, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your doctor and/or physiotherapist before anything worsens.