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5 Tips to Prevent Injury While Gardening

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Gardening is a great way to get outside, exercise, and clear your mind! But some people experience low back pain and other minor injuries while gardening. Here are five easy tips to prevent injury in the garden!

 1.      Stretch your muscles

Heading out into the garden is just like going for a jog or visiting the gym. Before you grab all your gardening tools, practice some full-body stretches to warm up your muscles. Target your arms, legs and back, because the muscles in these areas will be put to good use while you’re planting, weeding and watering. And before you finish for the day, do some more stretching to help loosen any muscles that tightened during your gardening work.

 2.     Banish bending

Many Americans suffer from chronic back pain, which can put a damper on the gardening experience. Consider installing raised garden beds, which allow you to garden without needing to bend over. Container gardens can also be placed on tables or deck railings to make it easy to reach plants without bending over.

 3.     Hand and wrist protection is a must

Weeding, hoeing, raking, shoveling – the repetitive motions of gardening – can lead to hand and wrist pain. Sometimes it can even worsen existing conditions such as arthritis. Taking steps to minimize irritation and discomfort while you work can help ensure your gardening tasks don’t create aches or worsen pain.

Consider wearing an arthritis glove to provide mild compression and warmth while you work. Because the gloves are made of cotton material with an open-fingertip design, they won’t make your hands hot or hinder movement. Designed by an orthopedic surgeon, arthritis gloves are also fully washable, so you don’t have to worry about getting a little dirt on them as you go about your gardening tasks. An added bonus – wearing any kind of glove can help you avoid another common gardening injury: blisters.

 4.     Keep your skin protected

Because gardening keeps a person outdoors a lot during the warm, summer months, it’s important to protect your skin from bug bites and sunburn. While most bug bites are just an irritation, sunburn can cause serious, long-term skin damage. Use insect repellent and sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Also wear a wide-brimmed, lightweight hat and sunglasses to protect your eyes and keep the sun off your head.

 5.     Lift Carefully

Between the heavy bags of soil, the many tools needed, and the full baskets of vegetables you may be carrying, lifting is a common labor when gardening. Remember to lift from a squatting position, with your back straight, so that your legs do the work, not your back. When kneeling down, use gardening knee pads or even just a rolled up towel to cushion your joints from the hard, damp ground. Remember to minimize twisting motions that can inure your back and joints.

Follow these simple precautions to keep safe and injury-free while gardening this summer! And remember, if you ever feel any pain or discomfort while gardening, you can always stop in to either of our locations to schedule an appointment!

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