How To Stay Safe From Head To-ma-toes While Gardening.

Spring is here, which means it is time to dig out the gardening tools! While gardening is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and stay active, gardening activities such as digging, raking, mulching, weeding, planting and watering can cause aches and pains if not performed correctly. Here are some tips to help decrease stress on your joints and muscles, and still have a good thyme.

1.      Warm up: Wake up your muscles by walking around the yard and stretching your back and limbs before you get started.

2.      Change positions: Avoid sitting or standing in one position for longer than 15 minutes to prevent aches and stiffness.

3.      Take breaks: Listen to your body! If you start to feel any discomfort, switch to another activity, or go inside and cool down.

4.      Grab a stool: You can put less strain on your back by sitting on a small stool while digging and planting.

5.      Protect your knees: Wear knee pads or use a small foam pad to kneel on to reduce the stress through your knee joints while gardening.

6.      Maintain good posture: When lifting, tighten up your abdominals and lift with your knees. Carry objects close to your body to put less pressure on your back, or better yet, use a wheelbarrow when moving heavy objects! Also be sure to engage your core when pulling weeds and digging.

7.      Apply sunscreen: Not only do you want to protect your muscles and joints, but you also want to protect your skin! Wear a hat and sunscreen – it is hotter than you think!

8.      Drink water: As much as your plants need water, you need water, too! Stay hydrated while working outside in the sun.

Lettuce romaine safe – have fun – and ask your physical therapist if you have any questions related to garden related activities or have any pain! Call for a FREE Consultation!

By Hannah Ford, DPT, OMPT

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