Gardening should produce tasty fruits and vegetables or beautiful flowers and plants, not body aches and pains.
Gardening is exercise. But constant squatting and bending to garden can put stress on your joints and muscles. Marshfield Clinic Physical Therapist Dave Smith shares eight warm-up stretches you can do to keep gardening comfortable and pain-free.
Exercise and stretch before gardening
“Back and knee pain associated with gardening can be helped and prevented with core exercises and back stretches,” Smith said.
Work through these stretches and exercises before gardening and at pain onset.
Tips while gardening
Prevent body aches by:
- Using longer-handled tools to avoid excessive reach.
- Stepping to grab tools, garden or move, rather than reaching and bending.
- Straightening your knees every few minutes when you have to kneel.
“Sometimes I have patients who physically cannot squat, so they sit on a stool and hunch over. This bends your spine and causes back pain,” Smith said. “Instead, work in a hands-and-knees position by resting your belly on a chair or stool, as shown in the video.”