Five Fit to Garden Tips for Spring

by Seasonal Wisdom on March 21, 2012

Post image for Five Fit to Garden Tips for Spring

Contributor – This is the time of year when gardeners pull out their trusty tools and tackle their spring to-do lists. But before you spend hours working in your garden, make sure your body is ready for the tasks. There’s no need to suffer from unnecessary aches and pains, especially with expert advice.

That’s why Seasonal Wisdom is delighted to feature this guest post from Stacy Walters, RKT, who created Fit to Garden™.  Her program helps gardeners use proper techniques to safely perform the bending, kneeling, twisting, standing and squatting movements necessary for effective lawn and garden care. In this post, Stacy shares her favorite tips for gardening safely this year.

important gardening supplies

To get you ready for this busy season, Stacy Walters, creator of the Fit to Garden™ program, shares her top five tips for spring gardening safely. Here’s what Stacy says:

1) Have a Survival Kit: If you’re like me, once you’re out in the garden there’s not much that can drag you out of the garden.  At the end of a long day you may realize that you forgot to eat, drink, or apply sunscreen.  Before the gardening season officially hits, spend a few minutes gathering the necessities.  Your kit items should be stored in an apron, bag, flower pot, wheelbarrow or anything that can conveniently travel around the garden with you.  Items to include in your kit include:

  • Water bottle (BPA free to ensure the bottle will not leach chemicals)
  • Organic protein bar
  • Ergonomically correct trowel
  • All natural sunscreen
  • All natural insect spray
  • A hat or headband

avoiding back pain while gardening

Don’t! Bend over.

2) Avoid Bending at Waist: The bottom line is bending at the waist causes an enormous amount of strain on the low back which can lead to next day soreness or injury.  Instead, avoid discomfort by alternating between the following positions:

Proper gardening techniques

Do! Sit on a stool.

Avoid back pain in the garden

Do! Kneel in the garden.

  3)  Use Proper Shoveling Biomechanics: To protect your back and joints while shoveling, follow these guidelines:

  • Switch leg and arm positions frequently.
  • Keep a broad scissor stance. A good rule of thumb is to stagger your feet as wide as your shoulders.

How to shovel properly

Proper way to shovel.

Avoid holding on to the tool at the end of the handle, keep one hand half way down the handle to enhance your maneuverability.

Back pain from gardening

Improper way to shovel.

4) Use Proper Hand Tool Biomechanics: The use of everyday gardening hand tools can cause strain and be a major source of discomfort. The hands, wrists and elbows are complex joint structures, which are vulnerable to overuse injury and degenerative conditions.

wrong way to hold garden tool

Improper Grip

To ensure a proper grip, shake hands with the trowel with your thumb resting on top.  This grip seamlessly prepares the body to recruit the appropriate muscles of the hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder to perform the work.

how to hold a garden tool properlyProper Grip

 5) Always Stretch After Gardening: Perform these two simple post-gardening stretches to improve your posture and low back flexibility.

After gardening stretch

To stretch the chest, shoulders and biceps, clasp hands behind the back with palms facing in.  Keep the chest and shoulders open and lift arms.  Hold 30 to 60 seconds.

stretch after gardening

To stretch the low back, hip and gluteals, sit in a chair and cross one ankle over the opposite knee.  Gently lean forward from the waist.  Hold 30 to 60 seconds and switch sides.

Practice these five simple techniques this spring and stay Fit to Garden™!  

proper gardening techniques

About the Author: 

Stacy Walters is a Registered Kinesiotherapist, Master Gardener, and budding freelance writer with a passion for green living.  The development of Stacy’s brainchild, Fit to Garden™ , is the result of the fun-loving blend of her enthusiasm for her profession and gardening obsession.

Learn More:

Visit these sites for more information:  http://stacywalters.com/ and http://corporategardencoach.com/.

Thanks, Stacy, for these great health tips!

How do you keep in shape for gardening, dear readers? Are there special ways you avoid injuries while working outdoors? Share your tips below. Meanwhile, stay tuned for another great garden giveaway coming soon!

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Pam Whitman March 24, 2012 at 10:01 am

What kind of natural insect repellent do you recommend? I love gardening and mosquitoes love me. We have a creek behind the house and mosquitoes are a big problem.

Reply

Seasonal Wisdom March 27, 2012 at 11:54 am

Hi Pam: Here are some natural-based mosquito repellents for you to consider. Good luck this summer, and have fun gardening! Thanks for stopping by. Teresa http://altmedicine.about.com/od/aznaturalremedyindex/a/mosquito.htm

Reply

Juice March 30, 2012 at 2:51 pm

I love gardening. Thanks for all the tips. I will use them all. I don’t do very well but I still love the earth.

Reply

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