While the weather is nice and sunny, many would like to work on their gardens at home, but one thing we have to watch out for are our bodies. Frequent lifting, repetitive motions, awkward positionings are things that can be a problem for our backs, knees, and hands. Below are a few tips that can help gardening remain enjoyable and pain-free.
Lifting is one of the topics we have talked about previously. You need to start with a broad base for support by standing with your feet hip-width apart and keeping your back straight. Squat down by bending at the hips and knees and not leaning forward or back. Bring the load close to your body and slowly begin to straighten your legs. Avoid any twisting or turning while carrying something. If you need to change direction move with your whole body.
Ease into yard work. Just like any sport or activity, you must warm up your body and gradually increase the amount of time you spend working in the yard. Take a brisk walk and do some light stretches to help prevent injury. This is good for ending your gardening session as well, similar to a cool-down.
Take breaks. Have a rest or alternate your position frequently. Every 10 to 15 minutes you can change and work on a different gardening task. Prolonged bending or awkward postures could take a toll on your muscles and lead to injuries.
Get close to your yard work. Instead of reaching out and pulling a muscle, kneel down close to where you are planting or weeding. Use a special garden mat or kneepads to reduce the pressure on your legs. You can also consider sitting on an upside-down bucket or gardening bench if you have knee or hip pain.
Elevate your workspace. Raised garden beds or planter boxes can reduce the amount of reaching, bending, or twisting required, allowing you to work at a comfortable height and minimizing the risk of injury. You can also try planting vertical gardens or plants in pots in which you can work with on a table.
Lastly, remember to stay hydrated. Drink water regularly to keep your muscles from cramping and to avoid heatstroke while working outdoors.