Benefits of Gardening
Gardening is a great way to get physical activity and at the same time enjoy the mental health benefits of being in the great outdoors. Gardening relieves stress and gives a sense of achievement at the end of the exercise and completion of a gardening project. Take up the challenge to go green and organic. The more work put into weeding, planting, pruning, fertilizing and watering the garden, the bigger the reward with respect to the ‘fruits’ of your labor. A well-kept and pruned garden is the pride and joy of every passionate gardener.
Get Physical Fitness for Gardening
It is helpful to do stretching and warming up before working in the garden or sweating it out cleaning up the yard. In gardening, the hands, wrists, elbows, and shoulder joints are worked a lot. Bending at the waist should be avoided and instead stooping or sitting on a garden stool will minimize lower back injuries. It is advisable to rest as often as needed especially if you are advanced in age, have a heart condition or joint issues.
Types of garden-related injuries
- Abrasions, bruises, lacerations
- Sprains, strains, dislocations, fractures
- Sun burns
- Foreign bodies in the eyes
- Insect stings and bites
Tips to Prevent Gardening Injuries
- Warm up by getting the circulation going for 10-15 minutes.
- Use a padded kneeler and a low bench to avoid putting pressure on the back.
- Do not twist your back and be aware of good posture at all times.
- Apply good shoveling techniques to avoid injury to the back.
- Use gardening gloves to prevent injuries to the hands
- Wear practical footwear.
- Wear goggles to protect the eyes especially when digging and shoveling.
- Invest in ergonomic gardening tools to reduce overuse injuries.
- Keep well hydrated especially during the hot months. Wearing a gardening hat is also useful.
- During the summer days be sure to apply sunscreen lotion to the exposed areas of your body.
- Wear insect repellant and keep environmentally friendly insecticide handy.
- Do not do too much at one go. No more than 45 minutes for the uninitiated and take frequent breaks as needed.
If you are unsure about your level of fitness and have underlying medical illness, it is advisable to see a healthcare professional before starting a gardening project.
For improved fitness, a physical therapist will evaluate the neck, shoulders and arms for underlying biomechanical issues. In the event of simple biomechanical issues, the physical therapist will offer conservative treatment to relieve the symptoms of pain, stiffness, and inflexibility.
Strength training will focus on building the strength of the upper body. The neck and shoulder muscles tend to get tight. Alternating cold and warm treatments on any swollen or inflamed areas for 20 minutes at a time, three times a day give good results in the acute phase on an injury. Massaging the painful area results in a stretching of the tight muscles and also stimulates the circulation of blood.
In the event of a more serious injury, do not hesitate to visit the doctor’s office or hospital without delay.
Readers Bureau, Contributor
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