NEWSLETTER Health &Wellness
AVOID ACHES & PAINS IN THE GARDEN
Common gardening activities, such as digging, planting, weeding, mulching, and raking can cause stress and strain on muscles and joints. This is especially true for senior citizens and people who are normally sedentary. Different body areas such as the shoulders, neck, back, and knees can be vulnerable to injury during gardening. These tips can help prevent injuries: • Warm up before you garden. A 10 minute brisk walk and stretches for the spine and limbs are good ways to warm up. • Change positions frequently to avoid stiffness or cramping. • Make use of a garden cart or wheelbarrow to move heavy planting materials or tools. Be sure to keep your back straight while using a wheelbarrow.
• If kneeling on both knees causes discomfort in your back, try kneeling on one and keep the other foot on the ground. Use knee pads or a gardening pad when kneeling. • If kneeling or leaning down to the ground causes significant pain in your back or knees, consider using elevated planters to do your gardening. • Avoid bending your wrist upwards when pulling things or using gardening tools. Instead, keep your wrist straight and use your shoulder muscles to pull and lift. • End your gardening session with some gentle backward bending of your low back, a short walk and light stretching, similar to stretches done before starting. Author: Andrea Avruskin PT, DPT
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