Gardening is one of those activities that can be both relaxing and energizing. A pleasant form of exercise, combined with the satisfaction of growing your own flowers, fruits and vegetables, makes gardening a favorite hobby for many people. However, in order to get the maximum benefits from this therapeutic activity, one should observe a few basic precautions.
- Wear a hat. Preferably one with a wide brim. This can prevent sunstroke and sunburn on very hot days.
- Wear gloves. Most people do, but make sure your gloves are thick and fit properly. Thin fabric will not protect your hands from thorns and sharp objects.
- Don't forget the sunscreen. Being in the sun for too long can cause melanoma or skin cancer. Protect your skin with a good sunscreen.
- Stay hydrated. Don't be so enthusiastic about your gardening that you neglect to drink water. Keep your water bottle handy and sip whenever you feel thirsty.
- Wear proper shoes. Protect your feet from environmental hazards by wearing closed-up shoes with thick soles. If you are diabetic, consult your physical therapist regarding the right type of footwear.
- Save your back. Avoid excessive bending while tilling or sowing. There are many tools on the market with long handles that make bending unnecessary. When sowing seeds or planting, a garden bench or kneeling cushion makes the job much easier. Some of these benches come with wheels so you can transport heavy bags, pots etc. and avoid lifting.
- Observe proper body mechanics. If you must lift, use the large muscles in the front of your legs and bend your knees, not your back.
- Warm up and cool down. Warming up exercises before gardening will prepare the muscles and help avoid muscle sprain. A good stretch after gardening helps to relax the muscles and remove the kinks from hours of sitting, standing and bending.
- Take regular breaks.
By following these safety tips, you can enjoy many pleasant and fruitful hours of gardening and maintain a healthy level of fitness.
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