Spring has sprung and what better way to keep active than to get out and do some gardening. Read on for some advice on how to keep your body safe in the garden.
- Keep hydrated. Bring a water bottle out in the garden or take regular breaks to have a glass of water inside. Time flies when you are busy pulling weeds and tidying up the yard. If you haven’t had enough water then your risk of dehydration increases. Symptoms of dehydration include: muscle cramps, nausea, light-headedness and weakness. This can increase the risk of falling or injuring yourself in the garden.
- Keep all your garden tools in a safe place. Keep buckets, clippers and shovels in an easily accessible area that is out of your way. Leave the hose wound up in a reel so you are less likely to trip over it.
- Make sure you have the appropriate equipment. This makes your job so much quicker and more efficient.
Some examples are:
- Having a low chair where you can sit and bend through your hips. This will protect you from hurting your knees when kneeling.
- Having a battery-operated blower to help with keeping pathways neat and tidy rather than using the broom. It is less repetitive and easier to keep your back in a better position.
- Be aware of your limits. Don’t attempt to lift anything too heavy from the ground without making sure you are capable of doing it safely.
- Break up the tasks. Your body has a higher chance of getting sore spending prolonged time doing the same things, for example digging. Leaning forward will put pressure on your lower back if you are in that position for long periods of time. Start with 20 minutes then change task to take the pressure off those joints before returning.
- If you live alone and have a personal alarm make sure you are wearing it in case anything goes wrong. If you don’t it may be worthwhile having your mobile or cordless phone in reach, particularly if you plan on spending several hours outside and something unsuspected occurs, causing you pain or unease.
Most importantly, if you love gardening, getting older does not mean you need to give it up! The Physio Co is here to keep you mobile, safe and happy – we can help you to keep doing the things you love. Get in touch today for more information.
Written by Jayne O’Malley (Physiotherapist – Melbourne South-East)