Sorry for the delay on this week’s post but the reason I am late pertains to the subject of this week’s message. I am going to address keeping your body healthy during the gardening season. It is very easy to over-work, over use muscles and wear down the body while gardening. I myself was reminded of this over the weekend when I did a little too much work and not enough self-care resulting in the inability to write my post yesterday.
Tip of the week: Gardening is an on-going activity which will always be there to work on. Trying to accomplish all of your tasks in one day will result in overuse injuries. Take it slow and steady to protect yourself.
Here is a list of some quick, easy self-care tips to keep yourself in top shape during the season:
- Stretch out before you start your garden tasks. Warm-up, make sure you are loose and flexible.
- Plan your workday to avoid working at the hottest time of the day or work in shady areas at those times. Take a lunch break or organizational pause during the temperature high. Also, do not water, plant or transplant during high temps as this is hard on plants as well.
- Wear appropriate clothing for the weather conditions. A hat that shades from the sun, protective eyewear, gloves, rain gear if necessary – these will keep you comfortable while you work.
- Have bug spray, sunscreen and first aid materials close by to access if needed.
- Drink plenty of water and replenishing fluids. You will lose a lot of water and electrolytes while you work so plan to rehydrate often and before you feel thirsty. Avoid caffeine, sugar and alcohol as these will dehydrate you faster.
- Take breaks throughout your work day. If it is hot and sunny, take time off in the shade to cool off. Also, do some stretching on your breaks to keep muscles from tightening up.
- Change your positions often. Looking up or down for long periods is very hard on neck muscles, back and shoulders. Plan to change task every 1/2 hour to give muscle groups needed rest. For example, if pruning a tree requiring overhead work, tackle that for a 1/2 hour, then spend the next 1/2 hour cleaning up the cuttings you have made so far which have fallen to the ground.
From an individual who has plenty of experience in the field, utilize these tips and you will be a happy, healthy, effective and efficient gardener!