Many people find gardening to be a peaceful and therapeutic activity, there is nothing more rewarding than planting and maintaining a vibrant vegetable or flower garden but its hard work for your body specially if you struggle with chronic pain. That’s why it’s important to take the smart approach and use all the tricks and tools available to help you.
Gardening works a lot of muscles and joints. It involves a range of motions, including standing, leaning, kneeling, crouching, bending over, squatting, twisting and lifting.
Strong core muscles and flexibility are key to preventing injuries that may happen during gardening, such as lower back pain, strained shoulders or pulled leg muscles. Becoming more active is a good idea, it’s important to condition muscles in the lower back before you start any type of physical activity, including gardening. Stretching exercises that can increase flexibility, walking, which can get your heart pumping and your muscles warmed up, are excellent exercises.
Dr. Gibson recommends these basic body-mechanic tips:
- Keep objects close to your body when lifting.
- Bend your knees and squat or kneel to get to ground level instead of bending over.
- When you are kneeling, be mindful of your position. Try kneeling with one knee on the ground and the other bent, and switch knees as needed to alleviate pressure.
- Wheelbarrows and garden carts- these make it easier to carry heavy objects if your have back pain or difficulty bending your knees.
- Cushioned kneelers with handles- these help minimize pressure on your knees and make it easier to stand up.
Listen to your body. It will let you know if you are overworking it. Remembering to stretch after each gardening session as it can reduce swelling and ward off stiffness and soreness.
Do not let pain keep you away from the amazing results you can get from working in your garden. Gardening offers a variety of health benefits:
Besides exposure to dirt, is good for the body and the soul!