Spring has finally arrived and after these April showers we hope to be growing our May Flowers right? Well, safely at least … Here are a few gardening tips and tricks to prevent any pain or injury from occurring during the season.
- As the old tales go; lift with your knees and not your back. Bent knees/hips and a strong straight back is the goal. Your legs may tire, but you will save your back!
- Stretch! You can warm up and stretch before, to maximize your mobility, and stretch after for safe recovery. Which muscles/areas?
- Hip flexors
- Thighs (quads and hamstrings)
- Change positions often in order to avoid stiffness or cramps; Use a sitting stool, knee cushion or consider a half-kneeling position.
- Change tasks every so often. Don’t do the same task for too long. Repetition can be detrimental to your tendons, if unprepared or not used to it.
- Use tools to alleviate work.
- For instance, use a wheel barrow to transport supplies or even get an extended handle to minimize reach.
- Use lightweight, long handled spades, hoes, and forms. This will allow you a better posture and share the work with other areas of your body.
- Keep your tools nearby to avoid excessive reaching, twisting, and constant getting up and getting down. Consider an apron or tool bag.
- Time yourself! Stick to your planned times decided for gardening, and keep it short and simple if you can. If you’re feeling great and want to continue, then take a break (every 10-20 minutes, especially in the heat), or continue the next day. Don’t over do it.
- Plant in raised beds to save yourself from being bent over while gardening.
- Take plenty of breaks & stay hydrated!
For more information check out the Canadian Physiotherapy Association's Gardening Blog Tips.