Some people may consider gardening a sport. It may not be a competitive sport (unless you’re competing with your neighbor for who can grow the biggest tomato), but nonetheless; it does require a good deal of physical activity and energy to do and because of that fact it may be considered a “sport” to serious enthusiasts. Digging, pulling weeds, adding mulch, and raking can all make you feel like you’ve just experienced an intense workout at the gym, so it’s essential to use the following safety precautions to prevent injuries.

SAFETY TIP #1 - WARM UP

Take a few minutes to warm up your body and get your muscles ready for what you’ll be doing. Do a short, brisk walk and then lightly stretch your shoulders, back, legs, arms, and wrists. If you need inspiration, you can try these two stretches:

Wrist Flexor Stretch

Corner Pectoral Stretch

SAFETY TIP #2 – USE CORRECT POSTURE

Back pain is a common ailment in gardeners, so always try to be mindful of your posture at all times, whether you’re standing or kneeling. When lifting, be sure to bend at your knees and keep your back as straight as possible. Imagine that your spine has been strapped to a broomstick. Do not bend at your waist or twist your torso. Keep the load you are carrying close to your body. 

SAFETY TIP #3 – SWITCH UP YOUR TASKS

Vary your tasks often so that you are not holding the same position for prolonged periods. Walk around and stretch a little in between tasks to help prevent stiffness and improve your circulation.

SAFETY TIP #4 – USE THE RIGHT TOOLS

If you’re using a rake that is too short for your height, you’ll have to be constantly bending over and  this can result in some back pain. If you need to bend down frequently, you should consider purchasing kneepads or a mat. 

SAFETY TIP #5 –DRINK WATER

Staying hydrated should always be a priority, and it’s particularly important when it's hot out and you’re out in the sun doing physical activity. Have a drink of water at least every 15-20 minutes. If you feel any pain after a day of gardening, apply ice to the affected area. If you still have discomfort after 24- 48 hours, be sure to give us a call to schedule a check-up. Happy Gardening!

Dr. Marcus Alvarado

Dr. Marcus Alvarado

Owner, Physician

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