Turning the clocks back and springing forward this weekend may find you itching to clean out your flowerbeds and get your fingers back into the earth.
If you do, proceed with caution. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that more than 41,000 Americans injured themselves while gardening or using gardening equipment in 2010.
Try these tips for a safe and pain-free gardening:
- Don’t do too much too soon. Split up large projects into smaller ones.
- Stretch and warm-up your joints before tackling the twigs and matted leaves scattered among your pachysandra.
- Work at the time of day when you feel the most flexible.
- Make sure tools are sharp and in good working order to make cutting and trimming easier. If arthritis has made gripping your tools more difficult, try fitting the handles with foam tubing for better hold and control.
- Pay attention to your posture. Bend with your knees and avoid twisting motions.
- Consider gardening in raised beds for easier access and with perennials for beautiful blooms requiring less maintenance.
- Wear gloves to protect your hands and consider knee-pads or a stool for work close to the ground.
- Wheeled caddies can store hand tools and help move heavy pots or potting soil.
- If you like to grow clematis, consider installing a mailbox in your backyard flower garden. You can keep your pruners and trowels handy inside and have a perfect post to train your climbing plants.
- Take frequent breaks.
- Don’t forget to wear a hat and your sunscreen.
If you still find you’ve overdone it, remember that Oxford Valley Pain & Spine Center offers therapeutic massage. Call 215-741-4410 to schedule an appointment.