The Gardener's Guide to Pain Re-LEAF

With the stress of going to the grocery store during the Coronavirus, many took to their own backyards for food. Gardening has become the latest craze for everyone who is spending more time at home and wants to avoid the hustle and bustle of the grocery store. If you’re one of the thousands of people who started or restarted a garden this year, here are some tips for pain “re-leaf.”

Before & After You Garden

Take a short walk

You might not think of gardening as a strenuous exercise, but you should still be warming up your body before you start planting! Your body will be bending and lifting, often times when kneeling down. Taking a short walk beforehand is one way to help prevent injuries or soreness while you garden.

Stretch your body

Not only is stretching a "peas-ful" exercise, but it will help warm up the muscles that you use while you garden. Stretching your arms, hips, lower back, and legs will decrease your risk of injury and soreness later.

While You Garden

Use a kneeling pad or cushion

It’s no surprise that gardening is hard on your knees. With so much pressure being applied to them, aches and pains can easily make gardening more difficult to enjoy. Using a foam kneeling pad or cushion can reduce the pressure on your knees and help you get up easier and with less pain.

Take breaks to change position

With gardening’s repetitive motions, it’s important to take frequent breaks to change positions. One of the reasons why gardening has become so popular is that it allows people to slow down and step away from the hectic nature of everyday life. If you notice that your knees are starting to ache or feel any discomfort, take a break to stretch them out.

Keep good posture

No matter if you’re bending, kneeling, lifting, or standing, keeping good posture is critical to ensure a pain-free gardening experience. Keep a straight spine while you’re lifting heavy items and avoid rounding your back when leaning forward.

Lift with your knees

Bend with your knees and use your legs when you lift. This will help you keep a straight back, which will ultimately protect you from future pain. If you can do so, create a vertical garden to decrease the amount of time you spend bending, which goes hand-in-hand with taking breaks to change positions.

Don’t let your pain get in the way of what you love – gardening! If you notice any pain in your back, hips, shoulders, or knees when you garden, schedule an appointment with Performance Physical Therapy. We have 13 locations in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts that can help you garden and move pain-free.

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