Back Saving Tips For The Gardening Enthusiast

Prevent Back Problems While gardening

by Sue Sarko

As the glorious springtime season approaches, many of us begin to think about gardening. For some, gardening is one of the greatest pleasures life has to offer. Those of us who live in colder climates look forward to finally being outside, planting beautiful flowers and shrubs, and tending to the lawn. But gardening enthusiasts who suffer from back pain look forward to the season with some trepidation. Well here’s some back-friendly news that is sure to brighten your day: You can greatly reduce the risk of back injury by following some simple advice! It’s true, gardening does not have to be the back-breaking hobby that it was once thought to be, provided that certain guidelines are followed.

First, sensible planting can reduce much of the hard work associated with gardening and upkeep of the lawn. Try planting low maintenance shrubs and perennials, especially in areas where accessibility is a problem. Choose plants for ground cover to reduce the need for continuous weeding and reduce the size of the lawn that would otherwise demand regular mowing and edging. Avoid planting shrubs, perennials and ground cover around tree bottoms where end of the season clean-up is difficult; remember, you will need to rake leaves out of these areas in the fall. Instead, consider mulching and plant a ring of annuals around the bottom of a tree. Annuals can and should be pulled up at the end of the season, making clean up and raking a breeze.

Don’t skimp on gardening tools. Well-designed tools can be a tremendous help in reducing the potential for back pain. Digging can be particularly harmful to those who are prone to back problems. Consider purchasing a specially designed tool with a spring and lever action to take the “ouch” out of this sometimes back breaking element of gardening. Some manufacturers make spades, forks and other gardening tools in various lengths and sizes to avoid straining the back. If you can’t find these size specific items, at least choose lightweight, long handled gardening tools, preferably made of stainless steel to reduce friction.

Gardening can be a strenuous activity, so exercise prior to can go a long way toward preventing “horticultural” back pain. Try stretching your muscles and doing some warm ups to prepare your body for the tasks ahead. Once you are working, let common sense be your guide. Don’t stoop over; bend at your knees instead. Try not to work too far in front of yourself. Keep your work close, so that your elbows stay bent and your shoulders aren’t forced into a hunched position. And don’t forget to take a break every 15 minutes or so.

Follow this simple advice, let common sense be your guide and DON’T OVERDUE IT! You’ll have a wonderful, rewarding season in the garden, the results of which you’ll enjoy for many years to come.

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