While gardening can be an incredibly relaxing activity that serves to alleviate stress, there are a number of injuries that can take place while gardening that can be avoided by following these simple tips. Read on to learn more about how you can keep yourself safe from serious injury while working in your garden.
1. Warm Up Beforehand and Afterwards
Some may believe that they can begin to garden without performing the proper warm up exercises first. It is important for you to get your blood flowing before you start to garden and this simple practice will greatly decrease your risk of injury. Are you planning on doing some serious gardening work in the near future? Be sure to take a 15 minute walk around the block to limber up and prevent any sort of injury from taking place. End your gardening session with some gentle backward bending of your low back, a short walk and light stretching, similar to stretches done before starting.
2. Maintain The Proper Form
The digging and weeding can be very tough on the back, as well as the knees. That’s why it is important to maintain the proper form during these tasks. A low bench or a padded kneeler can also be used to help cushion the potential impact. Don’t allow yourself to be hunched over for long periods of time, take a break every few minutes to stretch. Avoid twisting your body into unnatural positions for long periods of time and use your shovel with your knees slightly bent and a forward motion. If kneeling on both knees causes discomfort in your back, try kneeling on one and keep the other foot on the ground. Use knee pads or a gardening pad when kneeling.
3. Use Gloves
While there are some will eschew the use of gardening gloves because they are not comfortable, batting gloves are also a viable option. Gardening tasks are great for preventing carpal tunnel syndrome from taking places, but unless you are willing to wear gloves, you are risking a more severe form of injury than the typical sprained knee. Gloves are a necessary part of keeping yourself protected from small organisms.
4. Practice Moderation
Gardening is supposed to be a stress release, not an excuse to push your body to its absolute breaking point. There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking as many breaks as needed. To force yourself into taking the appropriate amount of breaks, experts recommend using tools that will need to be recharged. Using the time that it takes for the tools to recharge to recharge your batteries is one of the best decisions you can make. Change positions frequently to avoid stiffness or cramping. Use good body mechanics when you pick something up or pull on something, such as a weed. Bend your knees, tighten your abdominals, and keep your back straight as you lift or pull things. Avoid twisting your spine or knees when moving things to the side; instead, move your feet or pivot on your toes to turn your full body as one unit.
5. Eat The Food You Grow
One of the best ways to safeguard your body from injuries is to eat the healthy foods in the first place. Studies show that those who consume healthy fresh food are far less likely to experience injuries than those who do not enjoy garden fresh food. While reaping what you sow is typically considered to be a threat, gardeners who do are able to provide themselves with essential vitamins and nutrients.