Gardening is one of life’s joys for many homeowners. It provides a healthy way to stay active, eat healthy, and maintain a sustainable way of living. But despite the benefits of building your own garden, it can cause as many injuries as physical sports. In fact, nearly 300,000 people are injured in their gardens each year, according to The Royal Society For The Prevention of Accidents. One of the common factors of garden injuries is due to the lack of proper warm-ups, stretches, and the ability to lift more than they actually should. However, that doesn’t mean you need to stop enjoying your own garden. With a few easy habits, you can still maintain that green thumb and reduce the risk of injury.
Always Warm Up
Gardening itself can be a real workout. Just like all exercise routines, warming up your muscles essential to getting started in the garden. Try a brisk walk around the yard and practice light stretching exercises. You can also use gymnastic rings to help you stretch and build upper body strength. Regularly stretching the muscles, ligaments, and tendons that support the spine and back are vital to protecting the body. As proper stretching reduces tension in the muscles, it will also improve your range of motion. Not to mention, Stretching will also help boost mobility and reduce the risk of disability caused by back pain.
Pay Attention to Technique
Aside from warming up, it is important to use the proper techniques to lift and bend while gardening. If you’re lifting pots or heavy gear, squat by bending the knees and keeping your back straight. Lift the object close to your body as you move up and straighten your knees. If you feel sudden signs of back pain, such as aching, tingling, and numbness, stop what you’re doing immediately.
Invest in Useful Tools
Those with chronic pain can still enjoy the benefits of gardening. By using the right supplies, consider investing in quality gardening tools and accessories. Purchase items such as garden carts and wheelbarrows to transfer heavy objects with ease. You can also opt for elevated beds to grow your favorite plants, especially if you live with chronic knee pain and have trouble sitting down.
Tackle One Project At A Time
With summer quickly on the rise, it may be tempting to tackle your early gardening projects as soon as possible. However, aim to accomplish one project at a time. Listen to your body, as it will tell you when you are overworked or in need of quality rest. Also, limit your gardening to 30 minutes at a time. Tackling each project in a small, easy-to-manage increments will ensure that your body doesn’t become over-worked.
Gardening is a fun and rewarding hobby that you can enjoy for years to come. But it is also one that requires hard work and tedious tasks to maintain a healthy garden. Listen to your body, stay knowledgeable and comfortable, and follow proper body mechanics while you’re out in the yard. Your back will thank you for it.
Author: Jenny Holt
Jennifer Holt is a freelance writer and mother of two, who loves nothing more than to play, “where has the cat hidden itself now.”