It is not too late to plant flowers or vegetables. Gardening can be a stress reliever, good exercise and you can enjoy the fruits of your labor with beautiful flowers and fresh, healthy veggies to eat and share. Gardening in 2020 has been a nice diversion for me during the COVID-19 pandemic. I would like to share some gardening tips to help you prevent back and joint pain.
- Warm up before you begin gardening with a 5-10-minute walk followed by some simple stretches for your spine and limbs.
- Assemble your tools. Use long handled tools for your standing tasks such as raking, shoveling and hoeing. Long handled tools help you maintain good upright posture. Wear gardening gloves to help protect your hands.
- Use a garden cart or wheelbarrow to move heavy materials such as mulch, potting soil and our gardening tools.
- Use a pad to kneel on or sit on a simple stool to pull weeds and plant. If you can, alternate between sitting and kneeling.
- Change positions to avoid stiffness and muscle cramps. When you start to feel uncomfortable it is time to change your position. Stand up and move around.
- Take breaks to hydrate every 15 -20 minutes.
- Avoid twisting when moving materials. Instead, pivot on your feet to turn to our right or left.
- Hoeing, shoveling and raking are good whole-body activities when performed correctly. Your abdominals will engage to stabilize your spine when you maintain an upright posture during these gardening activities.
- An elevated planter box or container garden is a good alternative to planting in the ground.
- Remember to use sunscreen, wear a hat and stay hydrated. Work outside in the cool of the morning or in the evening.
Get gardening and enjoy your beautiful plants, tasty veggies and fruits while reaping the benefits of your exercise while gardening.