Safety Tips For Gardeners
Whether your passion involves rows of brightly colored blooms or ripening tomatoes, we’ve got tips to keep you injury free as you garden.
June is at its lush green best, and gardening is a wonderful way for people of all ages to celebrate our growing season. For some, gardening means a planter filled with herbs on a downtown balcony. For others, the planting season begins with dreams over seed catalogs that are realized in meticulously cultivated flowerbeds or plots bursting with fresh produce.
Even modest gardening ambitions require physical activity that can put stress and strain on muscles and joints—especially for seniors who have been sedentary through the winter months. Before you grab your gardening gloves to begin digging, planting, weeding, mulching, and raking, we’ve got some tips to help you avoid injury while you indulge your favorite summertime hobby.
- Warm up before you garden. A ten-minute walk before you begin will get your heart rate up. Loosen up with a few gentle stretches for your back, and roll your shoulders back in a circular motion.
- Listen to your body. Don’t let your enthusiasm overtake your sense of how you feel. If your neck or back start to ache, slow down and stretch, or stop, or switch to a different task.
- Use a wheelbarrow. Carrying heavy tools or planting materials can strain muscles and joints.
- Practice good kneeling habits. Don’t kneel on both knees; keep one foot on the ground for stability. If you do have to kneel, use knee pads or a cushion to protect your knees.
- Change positions frequently. When you keep moving, you are less likely to experience stiffness or cramping.
- Use proper body mechanics. Bend at your knees to pull weeds or lift objects. Engage your abdominal muscles to avoid straining your back.
- Give yourself a cool down period. A short walk, some light stretching, or a relaxing shower after you’ve finished your work can help prevent next-day soreness.
These gardening tips can help keep you, and your garden, in good shape through the summer.
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