Gardening has many health benefits, but you need to ensure that you’re not putting undue strain on your body. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 400,000 people are hurt in their gardens each year by lawn or garden tools, and thousands more are hurt from bending, stooping, reaching and grasping. Lance Walheim, author of “Lawn Care for Dummies” and Bayer Advanced lawn and garden expert, knows a thing or two about the aches that can come with spending hours doing what you love in your garden. Here are some tips that can help you and your loved one take care of the lawn — and body.
Tip #1 Bend at the knees. Bending while weeding, planting or lifting can cause pain in your lower back, hamstrings or knees. If you must bend, do so with your knees and position yourself squarely facing the object — close enough that you are not also reaching.
Tip #2 Watch your spine. Stooping while hoeing, raking or shoveling puts strain on your spine. Instead, let your feet and hips do the work or use ergonomically-shaped tools. Tools with thicker handles also can help decrease hand fatigue.
Tip #3 Don’t over-reach, as stretching for high branches or for that hard-to-reach spot can put strain on your ankles, neck and shoulders. Tools with grab and go handles make it easier to lean into hard-to-reach areas, helping to reduce the twisting and bending that strains joints. Also, drench products, which are applied to the base of the plant, can help avoid the need to reach.
Tip #4 Get a grip. Grasping a trigger for long periods can fatigue the wrist, hand and fingers. Instead, use ergonomicallyshaped tools.