Gardening – In Touch Physio Tips

Posted by Helen Potter on 08 September 2016 | Filed under Gardening Tips, In Touch Physiotherapy, Tips

Gardening – Don’t let pain interrupt your enjoyment

Benefits of Gardening 

The activity of gardening has psychological and physical benefits and can therefore be restorative from life’s stress.

The physical activity of gardening will also help your function, strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular system.

Try to be mindful and enjoy the experience of gardening by:

  • Feeling fascinated by your results
  • Enjoying the sensory aspects and the tranquillity
  • Feeling the spring sun on your body
  • Listening to the birds chirp

 Reducing pain and injury – In Touch Tips 

  • Consider paying someone to do the heavy aspects then you can enjoy the lighter more creative side
  • Look for tools that are small and light
  • Visit Arthritis and Osteoporosis WA to purchase or get advice on tools suited to arthritic hands https://www.arthritiswa.org.au
  • Avoid blunt tools and long handled shears as the right tools are more efficient,
  • Redesign some garden tasks

Think safety when gardening

  • Most accidents happen when you rush or feel tired
  • Pace yourself – avoid doing eight hours on the first sunny day of spring
  • Mix jobs so that you are in a variety of positions e.g.; plant, rake prune for short periods of time
  • Take regular rest breaks before you need them
  • You may feel you have not finished a single job but your back will feel better for it
  • Never lift anything that you cannot carry – ask for help
  • Get as close as possible when lifting things – even the handles of a wheelbarrow

Take care of your body

  • Don’t do anything to the point of pain
  • Stretch when you change position
  • Lean backwards if you have been bending
  • After working overhead, curl your back
  • Our bodies work most effectively in middle of their strength and movement range
  • Prune branches close to you so that you avoid using a long lever on stretch

Garden Modifications to reduce hard work

  • Modify your garden environment to suit your body height and type
  • Change lawn to mulched areas and paving to reduce mowing but remember that more paving means more sweeping
  • Low-maintenance plants that do not need frequent pruning
  • Raise garden beds lead to reduced bending
  • Install permanent seating for rest breaks

Carrying things

  • Keep an old laundry trolley for garden use
  • Ensure any cart or barrow is the right height
  • Lightweight leaf rakes are good if you must have a lawn

Watering

  • Tap turners are plastic fittings that increase the bulk of the tap making gripping easier ($5 https://www.daily.com.au)
  • Buy pot stands with wheels. Keep the pots permanently on the stands for when you need to move them
  • A kneeling frame or portable seat may be helpful if your knees or hips are troublesome
  • Carrying heavy buckets and watering cans can lead to wrist and shoulder problems that need physiotherapy. Think before you lift
  • Avoid repetitive bending and twisting, plan your activity
  • Equalise the load and carry close to your body

©Helen Potter In Touch Physiotherapy Subiaco 2016  (Modified from RSI and Overuse Injury Association Newsletter and APA physio4you)

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