Gardening for good health: it's time to get your dose

Gardening for good health: it's time to get your dose

Spring is in the air, all around us things are growing including the weeds. It’s time to think about gardening. Did you know gardening offers all sorts of benefits?

You may think of gardening as providing heart and lung exercise for your body. Some gardening jobs can also help muscle and bone strengthening as well. Think about bending down to pick up something heavy, digging holes or making a garden bed. Every time you shovel, rake, or push a wheelbarrow you are helping your muscles and bones. As we age it is important to keep our muscles and bones strong.

Gardening also benefits your mental wellbeing. Being outside in the fresh air improves your mood. Caring for a garden and watching it grow from seed to something you can eat helps your wellbeing.

Tips for minimising the aches and pains from gardening

Do you avoid gardening because it makes you feel too sore? There are things you can do to prevent or decrease pain while gardening.

  • Always use proper posture. Moving with good posture helps you avoid pain and injury. For example, if you are picking something up, keep your shoulder blades back and down, and bend and lift with your knees, not your back.
  • Listen to your body. If you “over-did it” one day, you should take it slow the next day.
  • Think about garden tools to help ease any potential or existing pain. The hardware store may have gloves and garden tools designed for those with joint issues. Using garden tools like knee pads or foam pads may help lessen knee pain.
  • Take breaks while gardening as you would if were doing other physical activity. Try sitting down for five minutes with a drink of water. Also be sure to stretch after gardening. This can help improve/maintain flexibility and improve muscle recovery too.

Remember, if you do not currently garden then start slow and ease into it.