Gardening is a hobby of many. Gardening puts a person close to nature. What a better and inexpensive way to enjoy the weather, and witness your plants growing, getting flowers and fruits. For many people, the garden is the “baby” that gives them successful satisfaction of hard work. With these many benefits, gardening also puts a human body in a series of uncomfortable positions. It is hard work just like a work out session, and a person has to be in certain positions frequently and for a stretch. It is usual for physical therapists to see cases with back pain, hip fractures, ligaments sprain or strain after gardening. So in this article, I want to discuss some basic positioning tips to avoid injuries, falls and pain while gardening.
Start Slow while Gardening :
After long hard winter, you don’t want to go out on the first day of spring and work on your garden for five hours. Even Though, it sounds like a common sense, Surprisingly, I have had many people tell me that. And then they visit either their doctors or PT with back pain or muscle strain. Just like any other activity or work out, you want to start slow. Work on a step at a time. May only mow the lawn, or get all seeds ready, and clean the area where you want to garden this year.
If possible, warm up :
When you actually start gardening, weeding, planting, watering, etc, warm up. Make sure you are ready for this hard work for the full season. You can either walk for 5 to 10 minutes or mow the lawn as the first step. The idea is not to just go out in summer and kneel for half an hour. You definitely are going to sore and in pain the next day. So just use the first 10 minutes as warm up exercise as you do for any other work out session.
Stretch often :
This is important, especially when it comes to gardening. Gardening is an activity that includes sitting on your heels, kneeling, half kneeling, bending forward, and remain in this position for a long period of time. You are out in the sun that puts a body in extra stress. So it is important that you avoid the same posture or position for a longer period (like more than 5 minutes). A good way to find a “longer “ period of you is when you start feeling uncomfortable in that position. It is hard to time your position when you are out and about, working on your garden. So when you feel uncomfortable, stand up, move around, stretch your legs and arms in different directions.
Depending on your age, and physical activity, you can stop the activity at that point.
Change your position Often while Gardening:
It is correlated with stretching often. You want to avoid any one position for long stretches. Especially positions like kneeling, on heels, squatting, that puts extra weight on joints. These positions also require good balance. So changing your positions often help you prevent muscle or ligaments sprain or any potential injury.
No lifting or bending backs:
This is very important. Gardening requires lifting, moving heavy items. You need to make sure you invest in proper equipment. You don’t want to lift heavy items. Check out my other article on ergonomics for heavy lifting.
And the other important thing is please don’t forget to hydrate yourself with water during and after the gardening.
I hope this article helps you to work on your hobby with good health. Enjoy the summer.