There are so many benefits to gardening, and it can be a healthy physical activity if you have joint pain or are living with arthritis. But there are a few precautions and you need to be careful to garden in a way that is safe and enjoyable. And we have some tips!
Take Regular Breaks
It’s important to pace yourself when gardening. Pay attention to any pain signals, and take breaks even if it doesn’t feel like work to you. It’s also helpful to stand or sit up straight while you work, and change positions often. Frequent breaks also allow you to appreciate your garden’s beauty.
Avoid Heavy Lifting
Try to stock up on smaller bags of soil or compost, rather than one large bag that is difficult to lift. And use the age-old tip: “lift with your legs” so you don’t put strain on your back.
“When you get a bag of soil, put it right up against your stomach — don’t hold it out, don’t toss it over your shoulder, and don’t lean with it and try to drag it,” says Shawna Coronado, author of The Wellness Garden and a gardening expert with her own experience dealing with severe degenerative osteoarthritis and chronic pain. “When you’re ready to put it down, don’t bend over. Just let it drop to the ground, because anything else is forcing your back, arms, and hands to hold an uncomfortable position.”
Use Joint-Friendly Tools & Accessories
Long-handled tools are helpful because they allow you to stand, not stoop, and there are lots of easy-to-grip hand tools, as well was light-weight tools on the market. Kneeling pads or a small bench can also help provide comfort for those with knee pain. You can find tools geared for people with arthritis in almost any gardening catalogue. Look for tools awarded the Ease-of-Use Commendation from the Arthritis Foundation, which runs independent tests on products designed for people with functional limitations due to arthritis pain.
Create an Elevated Garden Bed
An elevated garden bed is great for people with joint pain, as there is less bending required and plants can easily be reached while sitting on a stool. Your knees will thank you when you are planting, weeding, or harvesting!
If you love the idea of a backyard vegetable garden but feel it is too much to take on by yourself, there are plenty of ways to get help. Yard2Kitchen Organic Gardens offers a variety of services beginning with a custom planting plan (we can avoid nightshade vegetables or anything that might aggravate joint pain). We then move onto construction and installation of your own raised bed garden, and we offer optional maintenance services. You can do as much or as little as you and your joints like! Contact Us to learn more.