Whether you choose to grow colourful blooms or nutritious veggies, gardening can be great for your mind and body. However, for people living with arthritis, working in an awkward position or doing too much at once can leave you feeling sore and exhausted.
Below are some suggestions to help you reduce pain and stiffness while avoiding over-exertion, so that you can continue to enjoy your time spent in the garden.
1. Start low and go slow
Gradually increase the amount of time you're active and the effort you make while gardening. Schedule tasks like weeding, mulching or pruning over several days to avoid overexerting yourself.
2. Use the right tools
Tools with larger grips or extended handles can make many tasks easier for those living with arthritis. Use a seat or kneeling pads to avoid putting stress on your knees. Having the right tools and techniques helps. Visit the Arthritis Society's Ease of Use program to learn more about garden tools designed for comfort.
3. Bring the garden to you
If working at low levels is difficult for your hips, knees or back, consider raised planters or an elevated container garden. You may find it easier working from a seated or standing position rather than having to bend down or kneel.
4. Build in breaks
Remember to stop and smell the roses! Set an alarm at least every hour to take a 10-minute pause. This will help you avoid stiffness and pain the next day. Stretching before gardening is also a very good idea. For some easy warm-up suggestions, try our top 10 exercises.
5. Avoid the heavy lifting
Carry smaller loads, or better yet, delegate more challenging tasks to family and friends. Plus, it's a great excuse to gather family and friends in your beautiful garden!