There’s nothing like a bright, sunny day—and the promise of juicy, mouthwatering tomato slices at dinner—to lure you outside to work in the garden. But sometimes, just a few minutes of weeding are enough to send you back inside to nurse your aches and pains! If you take a little preventative action, you’ll stay safe and feel great—even after many hours outdoors. Here’s how:
Keep your tools in tip-top shape. The first rule of thumb for garden tools is to try ‘em before you buy ‘em. You need to make sure the weight and balance is suited for your size and strength, and appropriate for the task at hand. You’ll wind up with just what you need to avoid blisters and muscle strains when you’re doing the real thing outside.
Escape injury. Wear lightweight pants, long-sleeved shirts, and sturdy shoes (no flimsy flip-flops!) to avoid scrapes and scratches from brambles, burrs, branches, and thorns—as well as attacks from ticks and run-ins with poison ivy. Protect yourself from sunburn, too, by wearing a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
Don’t overheat. Keep a cold bottle of water with you and drink often.
Check your posture. Never, ever stay standing and bend over to pull weeds. That’s a surefire way to strain your back. And squatting is no better—in this position your knees and ankles will end up sore. The solution? Kneel on a waterproof pad or pick up a pair of volleyball knee pads at the sporting goods store.
Avoid aches and pains. Start thinking of gardening as exercise (it’s true—experts say we burn anywhere from 120 to 200 calories per half hour of working in the garden!), and take a little time to stretch both before and after you do your chores. Focus on your back: Stand with your back straight and pretend that you’re in the middle of a compass, facing north. Slowly bend forward at your hips as far as you comfortably can. Hold the stretch for a moment, then return to the starting position. Repeat the same movement, this time bending backward, to the south. Then do the same thing to the left and right (or west and east, if you prefer). Each time you stretch, move your body in one compass direction only, without twisting.
Need Help? 1-800-355-0557 Mon-Fri 9:00-5:00 EST
Need Help? 1-800-355-0557
Mon-Fri 9:00-5:00 EST