Avoid aches and pains when gar­den­ing

The Southwest Booster - - PINION - COM­MU­NITY

Peo­ple who have not spent much time in a gar­den may not con­sider this re­ward­ing hobby much of a threat to their health. But as vet­eran gar­den­ers can at­test, gar­den­ing can con­trib­ute to nag­ging aches and pains that can force even the most ar­dent green-thum­bers in­doors.

Gar­den­ing is a phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity that, de­spite its peace­ful na­ture, can be de­mand­ing on the body. Thank­fully, there are sev­eral ways that gar­den­ing en­thu­si­asts can pre­vent the aches and pains that can some­times pop up af­ter long days in the gar­den.

• Use er­gonomic gar­den­ing tools. Er­gonomic gar­den­ing tools are de­signed to pre­vent the types of aches, pains and in­juries that can cut gar­den­ers’ sea­sons short. Gar­den­ing in­juries

Ocan af­fect any area of the body, but in­juries or aches and pains af­fect­ing the back, wrists and hands are among the most com­mon phys­i­cal prob­lems gar­den­ers en­dure. Look for er­gonomic tools that re­duce the strain on these ar­eas of the body. Even arthri­tis suf­fer­ers who love to gar­den may find that er­gonomic tools make it pos­si­ble for them to spend more time in their gardens with­out in­creas­ing their risk for in­jury.

• Al­ter­nate tasks. Repet­i­tives­train in­juries can af­fect gar­den­ers who spend long pe­ri­ods of time per­form­ing the same ac­tiv­ity in their gardens. By al­ter­nat­ing tasks dur­ing gar­den­ing ses­sions, gar­den­ers can re­duce their risk of suf­fer­ing repet­i­tive strain in­juries. Al­ter­nate tasks not just on mus­cle groups worked, but also level of dif­fi­culty. Re­mem­ber to in­clude some sim­ple jobs even on busy gar­den­ing days so the body gets a break.

• Take fre­quent breaks. Fre­quent breaks can help com­bat the stiff­ness and mus­cle aches that may not ap­pear un­til gar­den­ers fin­ish their gar­den­ing ses­sions. Breaks help to alle­vi­ate mus­cles or joints that can be­come over­taxed when gar­den­ing for long, un­in­ter­rupted pe­ri­ods of time. When leaning down or work­ing on your hands and knees, stand up to take breaks every 20 min­utes or the mo­ment aches and pains start to make their pres­ence felt.

• Main­tain good pos­ture. Back in­juries have a ten­dency to linger, which can keep gar­den­ers in­doors and out of their gardens. When gar­den­ing, main­tain good pos­ture to pre­vent back in­juries. Gar­den­ing back braces can pro­tect the back by pro­vid­ing sup­port and mak­ing it eas­ier for gar­den­ers to main­tain their pos­ture. Tool pouches at­tached to gar­den­ing stools or chairs also can be less tax­ing on the back than gar­den­ing belts tied around the waist.

Gar­den­ing might not be a con­tact sport, but it can cause pain if gar­den­ers do not take steps to pre­vent the on­set of mus­cle aches and strains when spend­ing time in their gardens.



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