With spring finally here, many people are eager to get their garden started for the season. Although gardening is rewarding work, it can take a toll on the body. To help guide you in avoiding and reducing aches this gardening season, here are a few simple tips for pain-free gardening.
How to Garden with Arthritis
- Warm up
Gardening is just like any other exercise. Therefore, it requires your muscles to be warmed up. Practice 5 minute warmup stretches in order to prep your body and avoid muscle soreness. Furthermore, stretching afterwards is extremely beneficial to your muscles and joints.
- Cushion your knees
Use a foam-padded, ergonomic mat to prevent knee and backaches when planting or weeding. We recommend the type that flips over to become a seat and has handlebars to help you stand up.
- Elevated garden
Instead of bending over backwards for your garden, consider elevating your garden beds or having hanging baskets. By giving your garden that extra height, you’re saving yourself back pain, knee pain, etc.
- Handy tools
Look for garden tools geared for people with limited mobility or joint problems. Board certified rheumatologist and Director of Arthritis treatment center in Frederick, Maryland, Dr. Wei, recommends using high quality tools, including strong gloves to protect your hands and joints. He also recommends using stainless steel shovels that will accumulate less soil, therefore making it less heavy.
- Listen to your body
Pain signals are your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. Instead of working through your pain, listen to your body and take breaks. If you suffer from aches and pains due to osteoarthritis, there are several ways to minimize the strain on your joints for pain free gardening.