As spring is here, we thought it would be a good time to remind you of the importance of ergonomic gardening. By this we mean using proper body mechanics so you do not cause stress or pain when bending or kneeling.
With the growing popularity of eating healthier in this country, home and community gardening is one of the most popular, pleasurable, and beneficial activities in the United States. Gardening offers many benefits in addition to producing affordable, nutritious food. Gardening strengthens our bones, muscles and cardiovascular systems. It builds stamina, lubricates our joints, and improves our motor abilities and helps us burn calories. However, if not performed properly can cause minor to serious injuries. Here are a couple of tips to help keep you injury free and enjoying your garden in the months to come.
When bending or squatting, keep your knees flexed to utilize your strong leg muscles and ease the strain on back muscles. Keep your back and neck in a neutral position and tighten your core muscles. Feet and ankles should be firmly planted on the ground about hip-width apart. Work as close to the task as possible so you’re not leaning causing strain on other areas of your body.
When kneeling to weed or pick the garden, position your body straight on and as close to the task as possible. Using knee pads or a kneeler cushion and changing position frequently lessens any strain you may feel. Alternate kneeling with one knee up and the other down at least every 10minutes to redistribute the load. You should also get up periodically and walk around. If kneeling doesn’t work for you, try sitting on a low stool as an alternative.
Another quick tip: While standing up to water flowers or your vegetable garden, you should stand close to plants, in an upright position, with your core muscles tightened, and using good posture. You can alternate hands holding the water jug to alleviate muscle strain.
Happy gardening from Care N Assist