Tips for Gardening without the Pain

By: Jennifer Lauro, OTR
Jennifer is an Occupational Therapist at Woodlawn Health
Gardening is a great way to spend time outdoors and get exercise, but it can be hard on your body if you’re not careful. Here are some tips for practicing good body mechanics and preventing pain and injury while gardening:
1. Warm up before you start: Just like with any physical activity, it’s essential to warm up your muscles before gardening. Take a short walk or gentle stretches to get your body ready.
2. Use proper tools: Make sure you’re using tools that are the right size for you and in good condition. Using tools that are too heavy or too long can cause strain on your muscles and joints.
3. Use a cushion or pad: If you’re kneeling or sitting on the ground, use a cushion or pad to protect your knees and back.
4. Keep your back straight: When bending over to plant or weed, ensure you’re bending at your hips and keeping your back straight. Avoid hunching over, which can strain your back muscles.
5. Lift with your legs: If you need to lift something heavy, like a bag of soil, squat down and use your legs instead of bending over and using your back.
6. Take breaks: Gardening can be hard work, so stretch and rest every 20-30 minutes.
7. Stay hydrated: Ensure you’re drinking plenty of water while gardening to prevent dehydration, which can cause muscle cramps and fatigue.
8. Listen to your body: If you start to feel pain or discomfort, stop what you’re doing and take a break. Don’t push through the pain, as this can lead to injury.
By following these tips, you can enjoy gardening while caring for your body and preventing pain and injury. If you have any health concerns affecting your ability to participate in your daily activities, please contact the Rehab Department at Woodlawn Health at 574-224-1160.

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