– but what about the aches and pains?
It’s the time of year people are tidying up their gardens, digging in the dirt, and planting flowers and vegetables. Gardening has a wealth of health benefits including being outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine, exercise because it combines three types of physical activity: strength, endurance and flexibility. You may be surprised to know, it’s possible to burn the same number of calories gardening for 45 minutes as doing 30 minutes of aerobics. Sounds good to me!
Here’s another benefit: In a study of more than 3,010 women, researchers from an American University found that those involved in gardening had lower rates of osteoporosisthan women who jogged, swam and did aerobics. And let’s not forget that spending time in nature can significantly reduce stress, promote relaxation and lower blood pressure.
However, along with the joy and satisfaction of being active outdoors, gardening also brings with it the risks of muscle and joint pain and even injury.
Gardening involves many hours planting, digging, weeding, chopping, lifting and kneeling, all of which puts stress on different parts of the body. This can lead to a variety of problems such as lower back and shoulder pain, foot and knee pain and hand and wrist pain.
So, here are a few tips to reduce the risk of injury, reduce aches and pains and make sure you keep fit and healthy, so you can continue to enjoy time in the garden this summer.
Tips for Gardening without Pain
- Wear gardening gloves to lower the risk of skin irritations/cuts and reduce blister formation and use kneepads or a foam mat to reduce pressure on the knees.
- Dress to protect yourself from lawn/garden pests and the hot sun. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long, lightweight trousers.
- Wear a hat and use high factor sunscreen.
- Wear safety glasses when doing things like hedge-cutting or tree work to protect your eyes from flying twigs
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
- Use ergonomically designed tools, or ones with padded handles that are kinder to hands.
- Before mowing, walk around the lawn, checking for sticks, stones, toys and other foreign objects that could shoot out from under the mower.
- Work at a steady, constant speed, take breaks often, and be sure to change positions every 10 or 15 minutes to avoid overusing any one muscle group.
- Finish by stretching out those hard-working muscles to reduce aches the following day.
Aches and pains don’t have to interfere with summer gardening if you practice prevention and follow up with appropriate treatment. However, if you do feel pain, have a soak in a warm bath with some Epsom Salts, then massage Muscle-Ease Body Oil into aching areas. If the pain hasn’t gone after a couple of days, it probably means your muscles have gone into spasm and need a deep tissue massage to release them. For further information on relief from painful muscles visit my page on Remedial Massage.