The warm weather is here and so are those pesky weeds! Welcome back to gardening season. Your joints and muscles have been cooped up all winter, and now it is time to hit the topsoil, get out the annuals, and landscape your way into a summer wonderland.

Here are a few tips to ensure a healthy, injury free return to the gardening season

Stretch- Before, During and After Gardening

Athletes warm their bodies up before practice and competition and so should the seasonal landscaping athlete. Start activity with a 5 minute walk around your garden to scope out your days work area. Follow the walk with a stretch for 5 minutes.

When stretching Remember:

  • Movements should be slow and controlled-no bouncing or jerking, you should feel a gentle stretch, stretching should never be painful
  • Once you feel a stretch, hold the stretch for 15 seconds
  • Repeat each stretch 2-3 times

 Here are some helpful stretches for gardening:

Move-Today for Tomorrow

Get moving. Keep moving through the seasons.
Gardening is a great way to keep the full body moving through the spring, summer, and fall season. Find the part of your garden where it permits your body to work in the most comfortable posture. Do the majority of your work in this zone.
Activity out side your comfortable posture may cause strains and sprains. Avoid poor posture:

  • Lift through hips and knees in a bent position. Brace and set your core and keep your back and neck straight.
  • Use long handled tools to reduce the strain on your back.
  • Rotate activities that require different muscle groups and different body positions. (For example: Alternate sitting and standing activities.)

Add it up - An Hour is Power

Use your daily physical activity level as a guideline for how long you should garden. (For example: If you are active for 1 hour per day, you should be able to garden for 1 hour per day. Take intermittent breaks every hour.)

Work with-in your physical strength: Standard life loads are 64lbs (29kg) for middle-aged men and 28lbs (13kg) for women. When a load is awkward or difficult to reach, the �safe� load decreases drastically. Never rotate your torso while lifting; instead, position your feet to change position.

Plan for breaks and switch tasks often. Start with 30minutes light gardening activity and switch to a short intensive task. If you experience pain, stop working.

Reduce Strain-Use Tools that Work for You

Gardening tools are meant to make your work easier and more comfortable. Take the time to measure your tools properly to you.
Keep all gardening tools in an easily ready spot near your work site. Take as many trips as you require. Don�t try to bring everything in one trip. Use a wheelbarrow when necessary.

Talk to your Physiotherapist

Physiotherapists are healthcare professionals who help people of all ages and lifestyles gain and maintain their desired level of active living and physical mobility. At Parkway Physiotherapy in Hamilton and Altima Physiotherapy in Milton Physiotherapists, Athletic Therapists and Massage Therapists not only treat injuries, they also teach you how to prevent the onset of pain or injury that can limit your activity.