Get Out and Garden Safely!
At Multi-Specialty HealthCare we recommend gardening to get some exercise, sun and fresh air! Like any other exercise routine or strenuous activity, however, it’s important to make sure you use the proper techniques to avoid serious injury to your back, shoulders, knees and other joints. Repetitive motions associated with gardening for hours can cause overuse strain or injury, and heavy lifting can wreak havoc on your back if not done properly.
Believe it or not, there are a few important things to keep in mind to help you avoid injury while gardening:
- Warming up and stretching before digging in for a day of gardening is highly recommended. Stretching your back can help loosen the muscles that help support your spine so they work more efficiently, putting less stress on your vertebrae. Walking in place or taking a short walk around your neighborhood is also a great way to loosen up your muscles.
- Investing in kneepads not only helps prevent knee injury or soreness, it can help your back. Resting gingerly on your knees to avoid pain or soreness puts undue stress on your back whether you realize it or not. By wearing kneepads, you can effectively lean on your knees so they don’t hurt and put less strain on your back.
- Getting up from and taking a break helps reinforce the pre-gardening stretch. Sometimes we get so caught up on finishing a project that we forget to take a break, stretch our bodies and relax a bit.
- Using a wheelbarrow and bending at the knees is important to avoid a serious back injury. Just as in any other kind of lifting, it’s important to use the larger back muscles and your quadriceps for heavy lifting.
- Using the right tools and the proper techniques for the tools is imperative. If possible, stay vertical as much as you can rather than bending over. Try using tools like hoes and rakes that have longer handles to avoid bending over. Remember that when shoveling, it’s best to dig in and push from the end of the handle, rather than hunching over and placing your hand further down the handle for traction.
We realize that many people consider gardening just another chore, but sometimes some of these smaller tasks can take a toll on our muscles and joints. At Multi-Specialty HealthCare we hope that after a long cold winter, many of you are taking advantage of the beautiful weather to play in the dirt and plant some flowers, safely of course!