Gardening Without Pain

It's April 7th and I think I may be seeing signs of spring! The daffodils at my back door have bloomed. The birds are nosing around the bird houses for a new nesting spot. The neighbors are out raking, trimming, pruning.

Gardening is hard work, especially after a long cold winter. Our bodies are just never prepared for the bending, twisting and lift that comes with getting our yards ready to explode with green grass and vibrant colored flowers. So be sure to plan ahead and pace yourself, especially if you know that your (fill in the blank-- back, knee, shoulder....) has not been feeling so well in the past. Try not to push to get it all done in a single weekend.

Try splitting your yard into segments. Then you can limit how much of any one activity you do. You can spend a period of time raking. Then lift only one bag of lime or fertilizer. Then spend some time standing and pruning your roses or hydrangeas. If you try to keep the area manageable, you will get a good work out and not over use any one body part.

Some ways to avoid aggravating those nagging areas might be:

  • If you have back pain: try working in kneeling or 1/2 kneeling instead of bending at the waist. You can get closer to your work without over straining.
  • If your shoulders are a problem: Try not to over reach. Get the step stool to prune the vines over your arbor instead of reaching overhead for an extended period of time.
  • If your knees give you grief: Limit bending and squatting use your rakes and shovels to pick up your leaf piles instead of bending down to do the pick up.

Making small changes in your approach to spring clean up and prep will make the tasks less taxing on your joints and muscles. You will then be able to enjoy the growing season in your hammock or lounge chair without dealing with that aching back or other body part.