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Prevent gardening injuries with a good training routine

Prevent gardening injuries with a good training routine

Did you know that gardening is considered a form of moderate physical activity? That’s right, yard work is also exercise! However, like any other type of exercise, gardening can sometimes lead to injuries.

When you’re moving the lawn, raking leaves, weeding or prepping soil for planting, you’re physically exerting yourself. Injuries while gardening can occur. The good news is that our Lakeside Hospital team can help you prevent injuries with the right preparation.

How gardening injuries happen

Many different body parts and movements are involved when you’re doing yard work, even if you’re simply weeding the garden. It’s quite easy to lean the wrong way and pull a muscle, or to strain your back when lifting heavy bags of potting soil, for example. Gardening injuries include sprains and strains, cuts, and even overuse injuries affecting an upper extremity, such as a shoulder.

The benefits of gardening far outweigh the risks—gardening and other yard work can help you improve your physical fitness, lower your blood pressure, boost your mood and strengthen your mental health.

Prevention is the best medicine

To stay safe when gardening or doing yard work, following best practices can help:

  • Wear proper gear. Cuts and scrapes are among the most common injuries when caring for a garden or lawn. Wear gloves to protect your hands from the sharp edges of garden tools and thorns. Gloves also help you keep your hands clean when you’re digging in the dirt.
  • Choose your clothing wisely. Even if it’s hot outside on the day you’re doing lawn work, long pants and sleeves can help shield your body from flying debris. Protective clothing can also shield against stinging and biting bugs.
  • Create an ergonomic workspace. In terms of gardening, ergonomics can mean placing a cushioned pad beneath your knees while weeding or using a gardening stool or bench. Also, ensure your equipment, including gardening shears, is easy to use and in good shape.
  • Stretch before you start. Before you begin strenuous gardening work, such as mowing the lawn, warm up your muscles and joints with basic stretches. Pay particular attention to parts of the body you use frequently while gardening or mowing.
  • Pay attention to body mechanics. You’ve probably heard about proper lifting, but do you know how to do it? Keep your back as upright as possible and lift with your hips and knees. During other gardening movements, protect your body by flexing your abdominal muscles. This is called “bracing,” and it can keep your spine aligned to prevent injury.

One last tip—take breaks when you garden. While it can be tempting to knock out the lawn work for the week all at one time, your body will thank you if you pause in the middle for a little rest.

Feeling the pain after a recent gardening session? Our orthopedic and sports medicine experts can help you get back to feeling your best.