Think of pulling weeds and raking leaves like any traditional workout and treat your body accordingly. Before you start, take a few moments to warm up with stretches, arm circles, gentle squats, and lunges.
And while you’re gardening, be purposeful about taking breaks to avoid over-exertion. Pushing yourself too fast or too hard can lead to missteps and injuries.
More tips to prevent garden strains and sprains:
- Change it up. Switch tasks to prevent repetitive motion injuries. When raking or shoveling, for example, switch from one hand to the other to balance the impact on your muscles.
- Bend at the hips and knees. This will help you avoid using your back muscles when doing heavy work.
- Use a wagon or wheelbarrow. Spare your body when transporting shrubbery or rocks.
- Avoid lifting heavy objects by yourself.
- Wear proper footwear. Save the flip flops for your garden party. Wear firm soled shoes with closed toes and ankle support when working in the garden.
- Keep your tetanus vaccination up-to-date. The bacteria that causes tetanus lives in soil and manure and can enter your body through any tiny nicks and cuts.
- Stop if it hurts. There’s no glory in working through the pain. Continuous aggravation of a strained muscle can lead to permanent damage and chronic pain.
And before you even pick up a shovel, remember that the most important safety tip is to know the location of underground utility lines. Always contact Diggers Hotline or a similar service in your area before you plant a tree or shrub or do any new digging in your yard. It will help you avoid an even bigger “pain.”