woman gardens yellow flowers - gardening safety tips from mercy health

Weeding Out Injuries

May 17 2018

These home gardening tips will protect your health and help keep your garden growing.

Reach, lift, squat, twist. It may sound as if you are working out, but these are also the same movements required for home gardening.

Gardening is a great hobby to relieve stress, stay moving, spruce up your yard or make your meals a bit healthier. Yet home gardening can also be unforgiving on your body, especially your knees, arms, shoulders and back. So before you grab your trowel and head outdoors, take heed of these important home gardening safety tips.

Home Gardening Tips for Better Health:

Warm up

To prevent pulled muscles and overuse injuries, always warm up before gardening. Jogging in place and gentle stretching are great ways to do this.

Wear protective gear

Wear safety goggles, sturdy shoes, long pants and gloves if you are working with machinery or chemicals. These can also protect you from plants such as poison ivy.

Prevent sunburn

Wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher. This will lower your risk for sunburn and skin cancer.

Use the right tools

Make sure you have the right tool for the task, and are not forcing anything into place. The tool should be the right size for you — avoid using anything that’s too heavy.

Protect your back

Use proper technique when lifting heavy bags of mulch or soil, digging in the dirt or pushing a wheelbarrow:

  • Keep your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Bend at your knees and lift by using your legs, not your back
  • Engage your stomach muscles
  • Keep your loads light
  • If it’s too heavy, ask for help

Stay hydrated

Whether the temperature is hot or cool, drink plenty of water. Avoid alcoholic or sugary beverages. If you don’t enjoy plain water, try drinking infused water instead.

Change it up

Vary your arm and leg positions and rotate your tasks to avoid repetitive movements. For example, after 15 minutes of weeding, swap to trimming for a while.

Pace yourself

Take frequent breaks, especially if you don’t normally get much exercise. Listen to your body. If you experience chest pain or shortness of breath, seek emergency care.

Using these home gardening tips will help prevent injury so you can continue gardening all season long. If you have any question or think you might be developing an injury, reach out to your doctor today. The Mercy Health team is here for you. Visit mercy.com or call 513-952-5000 to find an expert, compassionate caregiver near you today.



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