Beautiful weather is here, and there’s no better time to get out and enjoy the weather. It’s a perfect time to fix up the yard or get your summer garden in shape for the season. But as we all know, gardening can be very wearing on the body. Bending, leaning, kneeling, squatting, standing, and moving your body into awkward positions can leave you with aches and pains, and the strong thought that you’re “never gardening again!” Don’t sacrifice homegrown vegetables and beautiful landscapes. With these simple tips, you can get back to enjoying gardening, pain-free!

Warmup.
It may sound silly, but warming your body for gardening will help prevent injury. Start with a few simple stretches that will stretch your legs, strengthen your back, stretch out your shoulders and relax your neck.

Small, Short-Term Goals are Key.
It’s possible you’re looking at your backyard and making quite the long to-do-list, but remember, you don’t have to accomplish it all at once. Be modest, give yourself a few, small tasks a day. You can pull the weeds on Saturday, turn the soil on Sunday, and so on and so forth. Though your yard work or gardening may take a couple extra days, your body will thank you for it.

Slow and Steady.
The best part of gardening is that it’s not a race, and it can be rather relaxing if you let it. Get started at a comfortable pace that will not exhaust you. It’s likely you will be more productive, have better quality work, and lower the possibility injury if you’re not speeding through the process.

Water Breaks.
It’s not only important to hydrate, but it’s extremely important to give yourself a break every hour. Give yourself 5 and stretch your body, sit down, and have a glass of water. If you have an area of your yard that’s shaded, take a break from the sun as well.

Friends Help Friends Garden.
We know that asking for help is one of the hardest things for people to do, but we want to protect your body from pain, so please, ask for help! It’s likely you’ll be moving something that is heavy or awkward and rather than hurt yourself doing it alone, ask a friend or neighbor to assist. Also, an extra hand may come in handy when putting bushes or trees in the landscape and make for a great conversation while doing so.

Soften the Blow.
When gardening, you spend a lot of time on your hands and knees. For those with chronic pain like arthritis, this is something that HAS to be avoided. You can buy foam pads for your knees to create less impact, work with long-handledtools to create less stretching, practice container gardening versus landscape gardening, and also raise your garden anywhere from 4-8 inches from the ground. Most importantly, always listen to your body.

Sit Back and Enjoy.
You worked hard. Relax.

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