For many, gardening offers a relaxing reprieve from the stresses of life. While losing yourself in nature can be cathartic and having a garden a healthy activity with its own rewards, the physical demands can be more demanding than you realize, leading to sore muscles or worse, injuries.
Whether you’re planting a window box, hoeing a row of tomatoes in your garden, weeding your yard, or embellishing your landscape with colorful perennials, it’s easy to over-exert muscles that you may not have used in a while.
Here are some of my gardening tips to help reduce the aches, pains, sore muscles, and even injuries associated with common gardening chores.
Gardening Tip #1
Digging, pruning, and weeding can cause elbow pain.
Here are a few tips to prevent and reduce elbow pain while gardening:
· Before and after gardening, stretch your elbow by bending your hand and wrist toward the inside of your forearm while holding your elbow completely straight. Hold for 30 seconds, repeat 3 times.
· Consider using ergonomic gardening tools. This may lessen the stress on your forearm and elbow.
· After gardening, apply ice to the painful area for 15 minutes.
Gardening Tip #2
Repetitive and prolonged forward bending along with lifting while gardening can cause back pain.
Here are a few tips to prevent and reduce back pain while gardening:
· While lifting and digging, bend from your knees and not your back.
· When kneeling and squatting, try to keep your back straight and avoid over reaching or twisting.
· Break up long periods of bending by getting up and stretching every 20 minutes. Place your hands on your hips and relax for just a minute.
Gardening Tip #3
Bending, squatting, and kneeling while gardening can often cause knee pain.
Here are a few tips to reduce knee pain while gardening:
· Don’t spend more than 15 to 20 minutes at a time kneeling or squatting. Get up, stand, and take pressure off your knees.
· Stretch the muscles around your knees including your thigh and calf both before and after gardening.
· After gardening, apply ice for 15 minutes if your knees are sore or swollen.
Gardening Tip #4
Repetitive, especially overhead pruning when gardening can lead to shoulder pain.
Here are a few tips to prevent and reduce shoulder pain while gardening:
· Take frequent breaks, especially from overhead activity and repetitive motions.
· Keep your work area as close as possible, avoid reaching or twisting.
· Use lightweight and ergonomically correct equipment that is right for the job.