Avoid Injury in Your Garden
Whether you have an award-winning garden or just have some potted plants living on your deck, it pays to be careful when you are working with the earth. Gardening, touted as the favorite outdoor leisure activity, is a great hobby for older adults, if you take some precautions.
Here are some tips to avoid injury while gardening:
- Protect Your Joints: Look for tools with padded handles which make them easier to use. Also, choose shears or cutters that open easily.
- Conserve Energy: Sit as often as you can when gardening, rather than bending over from the waist to get at those weeds (which really stresses your lower back). Some garden supply companies also sell kneelers which you can use to protect your joints if kneeling is a more comfortable position to work from for you.
- Limit Lifting: Those 50 lb. bags of mulch may to cheaper by the pound than the smaller bags, but who wants to lift them? If you do buy the larger sacks, place them in a flat spot in your garage and then transfer a little at a time from them into a bucket. Then you can more easily carry this amount to where you need it.
- Think Small: If you are new to gardening, start small. Don’t cultivate your entire yard into a garden. Instead start with a small plot near your house and see how that goes. If you enjoy the fruits of your labors, and want to do more, you can always add to it.
- Mix It Up: Change positions often when gardening to give your muscles a breather. Put tools that you are using down for awhile and flex your fingers and hands to give them a break.
By Teresa K. Flatley
Information provided by the Community Connector at UPMC St. Margaret’s, Pittsburgh, PA.