Gardening is a healthy and fun hobby that can help you stay in good shape. However, gardening can also be hard on the body, especially on the knees and lower back. Here are some easy exercise tips that can help you avoid garden injuries.
Stretch Before a Long Garden Session
If you are planning a long day in the garden, prepare your body by stretching properly. Just as you might stretch before a long walk or run, gardening often consists of several repeated movements, causing your muscles to become strained or even causing injury.
Any experienced gardener knows that a long day in the garden is often followed by a few aches and muscle soreness the following day. Avoid this by making certain that you stretch your body, paying special attention to your legs and lower back. Make certain that your muscles are properly ‘warmed up’ before you hit the garden.
Stretches to Keep Your Body Flexible and Injury-Free
Here are some tips on stretching to keep your body flexible and injury-free during your gardening session. Do a sun stretch by interlocking your fingers and stretching your hands over your head in a long comfortable stretch.
Warm up your knees for the gardening session ahead by sitting on the ground with your legs stretched out before you. Reach for your toes with your fingertips while keeping your legs straight. Hold the stretch for a few seconds time, and then repeat. Finally, stand up and reach for your toes while keeping your legs straight. Do not strain yourself. Hold the stretch for a few seconds.
Use the Right Kind of Gardening Tools
In recent years, research has brought to attention the importance of using ergonomic tools. Every tool you use should fit well in your hand. If the tool you pick up does not immediately feel comfortable in your grip, chances are that it can cause an injury.
When buying garden hand tools, look for those with firm yet flexible rubber grips. Avoid oversized hand tools that do not fit comfortable in your hands. Choose gardening gloves that are thick enough to prevent cuts and pricks from thorns and needles.
As for spades, shovels and other larger gardening tools, make sure that wooden handles are smooth and free from splinters. Even if you have a favorite spade, hoe or shovel, if it has a rough handle, put it aside until the handle can be replaced or smoothed down. Splinters are painful and can cause infection.
Avoid Knee Troubles By Using a Garden Cushion
Gardening accessories and tools are now being designed with the gardener’s comfort in mind. Many gardeners suffer from knee injuries from remaining kneeled on the hard ground for long stretches of time. Avoid this by using a handy garden knee cushion. If you plan on working on the same bed or space of land for an extended period of time, these inexpensive garden cushions can be a comfortable way to save your knees.
Vary Your Body Motions and Take Plenty of Breaks
One of the easiest ways to avoid knee and back problems while gardening is to make sure that you are varying your body movements and taking plenty of breaks. It may seem like common sense, but it can be very easy to become involved in a garden project and forget to take breaks and stretch. Do not ignore aches.
As soon as you feel your legs, knees, back or other area begin to ache, take a break and change position. Instead of working on one long involved garden project, vary your tasks so that you are frequently moving.