Get your Hands Dirty, but Stay Healthy

We are so thankful for the sunshine and the break from the gray skies our Pacific Northwest has been seeing. Our gardens sure feel the same way too!

If you have gardened before, you have most likely felt soreness in your low back, wrists, arms and neck. Maintaining awkward movements and body positions, such as bending and twisting for long periods of time, can wear out the body and cause discomfort- not to mention turn a lovely afternoon sour!

Get out and get your hands dirty, but stay healthy- read below for some simple tips to keep in mind the next time you head out to garden.

1. Keep your work close to you to minimize reaching, maybe try grabbing a gardening tote the next time you’re at the store.
2. If you need to reach, try to limit it to less than 10-15 seconds at a time. This is where raised garden beds can also come in handy!
3. Keep shoulder blades pulled together and don’t round your shoulders forward.
4. Use both hands when possible.
5. Alternate between sitting and standing positions.
6. When pushing, pulling, and grasping, keep your wrists in line with your forearm so they remain neutral.
7. If performing an intense activity, make sure you plan breaks approximately every 30 minutes.
8. Minimize activities where your neck is in an extended position (looking up).
9. Try kneeling instead of bending at your hips.
10. Drink plenty of water! You and your plants need it!

Above all, use proper body mechanics, avoid repetitive activities, take adequate breaks, and change positions frequently!

What’s blooming in your yard?