If you are like us, we are just starting to think about our garden and lawn care needs for this summer. Planning ahead is key whether you’re deciding on how you would like them to look this season or if you are physically ready for pushing a wheelbarrow, seeding the lawn or planting flowers.
Gardening is a wonderful way to enjoy physical activity outdoors. Besides seeing the results of your efforts, you can experience direct health benefits. Gardening can have a positive impact on your physical, mental and emotional well-being. It encourages improvement with your respiratory and cardiovascular systems and can increase your strength, endurance and flexibility. All of these things help to prevent health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis. In addition, physical exercise releases endorphins, which help to alleviate stress and its negative effects. Simply spending time in your yard can help lower your blood pressure, make you feel good and nurture a good night’s sleep.
Here are a few things to consider this gardening season.
- Start with short periods of gardening and build on that. No sense doing too much too soon. You’ll only end up feeling sore, not motivated and resenting it.
- Wear appropriate clothing, hat, and sunscreen. Replenish your body with water every 15 minutes.
- Have tools on hand that help make the task easier to perform such as lightweight, easy to grip hand tools, knee pads or a garden stool and gloves for excellent grip.
- Using a garden stool tends to be less tiring than standing/kneeling and reduces the load on your weight-bearing joints. To avoid getting stiff, stand and stretch every 5 to 10 minutes.
- Hold long handled tools close to your body. This will reduce strain on your joints, upper back and shoulder muscles.
- When doing light planting, make sure you position yourself properly to avoid twisting and reaching too far.
- Remember to always bend from your knees, not your waist. This will help to avoid any undue stress on your lower back.
- When transferring soil, use smaller containers or a wheelbarrow instead of lifting and carrying heavy bags.
- When using your lawnmower, edger or seed spreader, grip it lightly but firmly. A grip that’s too tight can result in undue stress and overuse of your hand, arm, neck, shoulder and upper back muscles. Look after gardening cutters and keep them sharp so they’re easier to use.
- Change positions every 5 to 10 minutes to avoid overusing or overburdening any one area of your body. Also alternate using the right and left sides of your body to encourage balanced strength on both sides.
- Make gardening a family affair. Have your children do tasks that are considered a little more fun than pulling weeds such as digging, planting or watering.
- And lastly, keeping active all year and building up your endurance by walking, cycling or swimming will certainly benefit you when start your gardening season.
So “Keep Fit and Have Fun”
Hal & Joanne