Spring is here, and so is gardening! Here’s 8 tips to prevent gardening injuries.
It’s that time of the year. Our long winter is over, the snow has melted and spring is in the air. The first nice weekend, and we all head out to the garden and start raking the lawn, digging over the flower or vegetable gardens, carrying bags of fertilizer, soil, mulch, new plants and pots. To help you avoid pain and garden regret, here are 8 tips to prevent a gardening injury.
- Do a 10-15 minute warm up before beginning. This would include 5 minutes of walking or marching on the spot, stretching of your leg and shoulder muscles, and spinal mobility exercises (trunk rotations and side bends).
- Avoid staying in one position for too long as this can strain joints and cause pain and inflammation. Give yourself frequent breaks to move around and stretch.
- Use a wheelbarrow, cart or tarp to move heavier or multiple items from one place to another. This will save your back from doing all the work.
- Use proper lifting techniques: have objects close to you, tighten your core muscles, bend at the knees, lifting with your legs, not your back.
- Use knee pads, or a small stool if you are needing to do work at ground level. Try not to kneel on hard surfaces as this can cause knee pain. Try kneeling on one knee and have the other foot on the ground. Alternate the legs every 10-15 minutes.
- Protect your face from sun damage by using sunscreen or wearing a brimmed hat. Protect your hands by wearing gloves.
- Stay hydrated. Just like walking or any other activity, drink water frequently. If you wait until you feel thirsty, it’s already too late and now you are dehydrated and more prone to heat stroke.
- At the end of your gardening session, do some gentle stretches again, to ensure there is no after gardening stiffness and pain.