Summer is the season where people enjoy manicuring their lawns and tending their gardens in anticipation of enjoying fresh, homegrown produce and glorious flowers. Gardening offers many benefits such as providing stress relief, an outlet for creativity and is an excellent activity to just get us moving. But just like any other form of physical activity, there are risks of injury.
When you dig, bend over, rake, plant, reach, prune, hoe, lift, twist, move, carry debris and create gardening masterpieces, its important that you protect yourself from potential hazards. If done improperly, gardening and yard work can lead to muscle and joint pain, repetitive strain injuries, tendonitis and other accidental injuries. Planting, raking, weeding, digging, pruning, stooping, reaching, carrying heavy debris, and operating machinery puts stress on the hands and wrists.
To help stay injury free throughout this gardening season:
- Be sure to warm up/stretch as you would before any physical activity.
- Wear gardening gloves (to lower the risk of skin irritations/cuts and reduce blister formation) and use kneepads or use a foam cushion to make it more comfortable and less traumatic for knees.
- Wear goggles when using cutting equipment and ear protection when using loud equipment.
- Protect yourself from the sun by covering up with long sleeves and pants made in breathable cotton, wear a hat and sunglasses, and use a sunscreen.
- Stay hydrated. Remember that you’re outside in the heat, working
up a sweat and perspiring.
- Keep tools of the trade in tip-top shape by making sure your power equipment is working properly and your tools are sharpened and properly stored.
- Do not mow grass when it’s wet.
- Before mowing, walk around the yard, checking for sticks, stones, toys, and other foreign objects that could shoot out from under the mower.