You wouldn’t play basketball or softball without warming up, so why would you garden without warming up. Gardening is a very physical activity requiring use of the entire body. Proper preparation is a key element in injury prevention. Spend 10 minutes doing a warm up.

Gardening Ergonomics: Neck

  • Keep your work close to you. Minimize reaching. Use long handled tools instead of reaching.
  • Maintaining your head and neck in an extended position (looking up) for more than 5 minutes at a time will create tremendous fatigue. Take a break after 5 minutes when looking up and working with the arms above shoulder level.

Gardening Ergonomics: Back

  • Alternate sitting and standing positions at 30 minute intervals.
  • Keep your work close to you. Minimize reaching. Use long handled tools instead of reaching.
  • Digging should be done with intermittent breaks in order that your body can rest from the repetition.
  • Bending over for any length of time can very quickly become painful to the lower back and legs. Ice your back for 15 minutes after you garden.

Gardening Ergonomics: Knees

  • Use knee pads to protect your knees.

Gardening Ergonomics: Shoulders

  • Work below shoulder level when possible. When unavoidable, perform the task for 5 minutes or less, then take a break.

Gardening Ergonomics: Wrists (Grip)

  • Rules of “thumb” 1) thumb and forefinger should meet when wrapped around a handle, and 2) indentations should encourage the neutral position (thumb up, wrist straight).
  • Hold objects with a light grasp or pinch, avoiding a tight, sustained grip.
  • Grip strength is at its maximum when the wrist is in a relaxed or “neutral” position. People lose up to 25% of their grip strength when their wrist is bent.

If you are still physically struggling and sore after doing your gardening you may need the help of a physical therapist. Give Ewing, NJ’s finest, Stoneking Physical Therapy & Wellness Center a call- We can help!