Plant your garden without feeling aches and pains

Plant your garden without feeling aches and pains

Flowers, trees, shrubs, fruits and vegetables come to life during the warmer months. This colorful scenery looks pretty, but often the hard work in maintaining landscape takes a toll on your body.

“Gardening is one kind of physical activity which is often overlooked. The physical demands can be quite significant. Proper preparation is key to preventing injuries. This includes a gentle warm up and stretching before and afterwards,” says Dr. Marc Hilgers, a sports medicine physician with Advocate Medical Group in Aurora, Ill.

Dr. Hilgers also says it is necessary to have proper hydration. He advises gardeners to drink enough to make up for water lost to sweat.

“The older one gets, the more time is spent before and after an activity to prevent injury and to promote recovery,” he says.

Check out these six tips to help maintain proper body mechanics and safety when putting your green thumb to use:

  1. Stretch your body — The American Chiropractic Association recommends stretching out one leg and reaching for your toes to release tension in your back while in a seated position. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat with the other leg. Implement a standing quad stretch, by standing on one leg and holding onto your front ankle from behind to assist with balance and coordination. To work your arms, wrap them around your chest and give yourself a hug.
  2. Use gardening devices — To relieve knee pressure, use a garden kneeler/seat or sit on an upside-down bucket. Raise your gardening beds to help limit bending. Utilize light shovels and have a wagon or wheelbarrow to carry heavier items.
  3. Protect your hands — The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that more than 400,000 emergency department visits are from garden tools. To avoid accidents, always wear gloves. Gloves are necessary to prevent blisters and protect you from harmful bacteria or pesticides found in soil. Gloves also will help keep you safe from horns and bugs. When digging, use a gardening tool instead of your fingers to reduce the risk of cuts. Don’t allow your kids to go near the sharp tools.
  4. Be safe outside — Gardening can involve extra debris transferring into your eyes or body. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing protective goggles, long pants and boots to keep you safe from fertilizer chemicals and sharp equipment. Don’t forget to wear mosquito repellant with Deel to protect against insects like ticks. Hydrate regularly and wear sunscreen.
  5. Maintain correct posture — Having a strong core is essential to prevent back soreness. When lifting, never lift with your back and instead use your legs. Try not to twist your body and have a slight bend in your knees when shoveling to minimize locked knees. Also, be aware of your wrist position when handling tools to avoid extra bending.
  6. Change up your routine — Repetition is often strenuous on the body. Taking breaks will help you recoup and develop other muscles. Implement various gardening activities to encourage working more than one body part.

Are you having back or neck problems? Take a free online quiz here to learn more. 

Related Posts


Subscribe to health enews newsletter

About the Author

health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.