Sometimes our favorite past times cause our bodies a lot of pain. Sore knees, sore backs, sore necks are just some of the ailments we hear from avid gardeners. While your back is on respite during these cold months, start considering how you can make this coming gardening season a less painful one.
So where should you start? The garden certainly isn’t going to weed, groom and plant itself.
We recently read a great post about this topic on the Big Blog of Gardening and we thought you may want to consider some of their great tips.
- Start with small easy tasks first, allowing your muscles and joints to warm up and get used to the movements. You can start by pruning bushes and trees that are just above or below waist high so your body can get used to bending and reaching. Trying mowing the smallest section of your grass first. Pull weeds out of your vegetable garden or sit down and begin planning out some container gardens.
- Consider wearing braces or supports. If your knee bothers you when you cut the grass, it may need some extra support. Wearing a brace for an ache can help support the muscles around that area and allow you to be outside enjoying your work longer.
- Use tools designed to help you garden easier. Use kneeling pads, gardening seats, extendable tree pruners and whatever other gardening tools you can find that make work easier.
- Work in your garden in increments. We know this one is probably the hardest for everyone, but it will ease your pain later. Set a timer on your phone and work in the same position for no more than 90 minutes. Take a break and switch tasks. If you were sitting on the ground weeding, stand up and do some pruning or stand at a table and organize seeds. This will give different muscle groups a needed break and you won’t hurt as much later.
- Switch lead hand and foot. According to the Big Blog of Gardening: “The importance of this tip cannot be overstated. The single most common flaw in digging/raking/sweeping technique is that we continue to rock back and forth with the same leg in front, and the tool in the same hand. This means only one leg takes all the ground reaction force, our spine is twisted only one way, and one side of our core muscles fatigues very quickly.” Switching leads will help you fatigue slower and feel better later.
- Get help! Another tough one to remember for many of us. If a task is too difficult because it involves heavy lifting or lots of strength, remember to ask for help. Is it really important to say you did it all by yourself? No. You’ll get more gardening in if you are not injured.
We probably made you all long for spring and time for digging in the dirt. Just 63 days until spring! Remember to come back to this post when you start working in your garden 🙂