If you are anything like me, you will want to rush and jump right into weeding, digging, landscaping, filling hanging baskets and such like but before you do that, I’d like to share the top 5 tips I give all my clients who are keen gardeners to prevent injuries.

How-to: Pain-Free Gardening Tips – from bestmedicinenews.org

  1. Warm up before you garden

Gardening is like any other form of exercise. Digging, planting and weeding can cause stress and strain on your muscles and joints. Before you begin to garden, try taking a short 10-minute walk to get your blood flowing or doing active stretches with your arms, legs and spine to get your body ready to move.

  1. Maintain good form while you garden

Bend your knees, tighten your stomach muscles and keep your back straight. Use your large leg muscles instead of your back to do the work. Change positions frequently to avoid getting stiff in your back, neck or knees. Use a garden stool or a garden pad to kneel so that you can support your back and not bend over for long periods of time. If bending down on both knees causes discomfort, try kneeling on one leg while you keep the other foot on the ground.

  1. Use your tools correctly to help you get the job done

Use a wheelbarrow to help you move heavy planting material. Keep your back straight while you move the wheelbarrow.

When you are shovelling, bend your knees, stagger your stance, shift your weight to your front leg, and don’t reach too far in front of you. Don’t overload the shovel, or it will be too heavy. Avoid twisting to dump the shovel by moving your legs and trunk together. Avoid bending your wrists upwards when using gardening tools or pulling weeds. Keep your wrist straight and use your arm muscles to help you.

When using the lawnmower, keep your arms close to your body and walk with the mower. When using a hoe or rake, step into the movement instead of just bending forward and using your arms.

  1. Plan breaks

Changes in position can minimize stiffness. Try frequent, gentle backward bending of your lower back with your hands on your hips. Turn your head side to side and roll your shoulders backwards. Don’t try to get the work done in one day. Spread the work over a couple of days. End your gardening session with a nice, short walk or the active stretches you used when you started.