7 Tips To Reduce Injuries While Gardening
The weather is starting to warm up, and Spring and Summer are right around the corner. The desire to be out in the fresh air comes with the temperature change. This time of year also brings the need for yard work and gardening, and therefore the potential for some gardening related injuries.
Whether it’s moving wheelbarrows, pushing a lawnmower or carrying heavy bags or tools without proper technique, one’s back can quickly get exhausted. A good idea to prevent unwanted aches and pains is to plan your gardening activities. Look to space everything out and begin with a light stretch or warm-up. We have put together a list of 7 Tips to get through it all while protecting your spine.
1. Alternate between light and heavy jobs by switching up activities and changing positions every 10 minutes to give your back time to rest.
2. Avoid prolonged, repetitive activities, for example, constant pruning or clipping with shears. Repeated movements can cause tendonitis of the wrist or elbow, or strains the neck as you look up for extended periods. Use a ladder to bring work to eye height and take frequent breaks.
3. Avoid lifting heavy objects immediately after prolonged bending and kneeling. Heavy lifting could fatigue the muscles and lead to injuries. Rest a little or get someone to help.
4. Kneel on a mat or use kneepads to plant and weed – don’t bend down from your hips. Try sitting on a bucket if you have knee or hip pain. Using a cushion will avoid putting pressure on those areas. Remember to get close to your yard work or try using a long-handled hoe.
5. Use your feet to move around when shovelling instead of rotating your spine. Only lift small amounts at a time and use a long-handled spade.
6. Pushing is always preferable to pulling.
7. If possible, elevate your flower beds and containers to a comfortable height. Elevated beds prevent stretching, bending, and twisting when you need to work on them. Maintain gardening tools and equipment, and consider getting cushioned handles, wheelbarrows that turn more efficiently, or lighter and long-handled tools. Correct tools properly maintained can make back-breaking work much more manageable.
A little attention to form and some support for your hardest-working joints and muscles can go a long way in preventing nagging or even dangerous injuries. Good lifting, squatting, and carrying techniques can keep your back safe and happy, so you can enjoy doing what you love.
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If you happen to find yourself with an injury, please book an appointment with one of Innovation Physical Therapy’s experienced physiotherapists.
Call one of our six clinics throughout Edmonton, including Riverbend, Meadowlark, Belvedere, Namao, or West Henday.
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