Garden Without Pain

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Most people think of gardening as a spring activity, but the cooler weather of fall is the perfect time to dig in. While it mostly consists of cleaning and covering up, you can also prepare your garden for the following season.

  1. Divide spring- and summer-blooming plants.
  2. Plant new perennials, especially those that bloom in spring like tulips.
  3. Utilize a compost bin for fallen leaves and garden rubbish.
  4. Clean garden tools and store in a dry place.

Gardening is an excellent way to stay in shape both physically and mentally; however, the repetitive motions of raking and planting can cause wear and tear on the body. The following are some tips to avoid injury while doing yard work this fall allowing you to garden without pain:

Exercise:

  • Strengthen your back before you start gardening. If you’re not sure where to begin, see a Personal Trainer to get an exercise program suited to you

Stretch Before and After Gardening:

  • Legs (heel raises; squats)
  • Thighs (bend knee, grab ankle)
  • Sides (arms above head, bend to side)
  • Shoulders (roll them forward & backward)
  • Wrists (arm straight, bend wrist up/down)
  • Arms & Shoulders (hug self & rotate at waist)
  • Back (sit in chair, bend at hips, reach down)
  • Cardio (10-15 min walk)

Know Your Limits:

  • When you’re tired, or every 30 minutes, take a stretch break
  • If you are unable to lift something properly, by bending your knees and keeping your back straight, do not lift it – get help

Plan Your Day:

  • Split your time into tasks and switch every 30 minutes when you’re scheduled to take a break
  • Keep your tools within easy reach. Work right in front of your body so you don’t have to twist or reach
  • Start slowly and build up your endurance

Tools:

  • Use ergonomic tools that allow you to keep your body upright
  • Always use the right tool for the job
  • Use a kneeler or bench to work at varying heights and positions

Remember, back or muscle pain that lasts more than 48 hours is your body’s way of saying it needs help. If you do get hurt, see your local health specialist for treatment as soon as possible to get back into the garden without pain.

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