While the rest of Canada is digging out from under the snow, British Columbians are enjoying an early spring. Take advantage of these warmer days by spending some time outside prepping your garden for the season. If you like to garden but want to avoid common gardening injuries and sore muscles, it’s best to start and finish your day in the garden with a gentle warm up and some stretching. By following the tips below you can minimize injury, alleviate pain and get the most enjoyment out of your day in the garden.
Gardening Tips to prevent injury, alleviate pain and keep you moving for life.
- Begin with a warm up. Start with light tasks such as easy raking or a walk to warm up your muscles. Follow this by stretching your back, legs, neck, hands and fingers to help prevent strain or injury. Your physiotherapist will prescribe the best stretches for gardening specific needs.
- Be aware of your posture and body mechanics. When sweeping or raking, move your feet instead of twisting your trunk or over-reaching with your arms. When lifting heavy bags or pots, use your legs, keep your back straight, and hold objects close to your body to prevent unnecessary strain on your back.
- Be ergonomically correct. Stay close to the ground to trowel, plant and weed. Wear kneepads to avoid putting too much pressure on your knees. Ensure your tools are sharp when pruning or sawing to minimize your workload and select tools with long handles to avoid reaching.
- Pace Yourself. Take breaks and do some gentle stretching to keep limber. Try switching up tasks to use different muscles and avoid one group being overworked. Repetitive actions that use a specific muscle or muscle group can cause pain or injury. BC physiotherapists are the most physically active healthcare professionals in Canada and the ones physicians recommend most. To contact a physiotherapist for a complete physical assessment if you are suffering from pain after gardening, visit www.movingforlife.ca.