Don’t forget to watch your back in the garden

To avoid fatigue or exhaustion, also remember to take frequent breaks, keep yourself well hydrated and be realistic about tackling large tasks in the lawn in a single day.

It's also important that your garden equipment is properly maintained. Clean, sturdy, sharp tools can make all the difference in the world to make gardening easier and safer.

The proper use of lawn and garden tools is also important to avoid strain. When using long-handle tools, such as a rake or shovel, try to keep your back straight. Grip your tools lightly when working to avoid injury. Joe Sherinski, host of "Garden Power", also recommends that all your tools have comfortable grips.

Fortunately, there are new lines of tools that aid in making lawn and gardening work easier and safer. Many tools are now made with fiberglass, instead of wood, which cuts down on the weight of the tool, keeping exertion to a minimum.

Research shows that the triangular shape best fits the shape of the hand when gripping long-handled tools. This comfortable position reduces hand fatigue significantly. An over-molded grip further prevents blistering.

The International Chiropractors Association (ICA) recommends using long-handle tools to give better leverage and avoid having to stoop and twist with your back while performing tasks such as raking or digging. They also advise avoiding continually bending over while you're standing. Instead, use a garden stool, or kneel, and keep your back protected by rising via straightening the legs and knees, not lifting your upper body from the waist. It is also advantageous to rotate tasks to avoid staying in one position too long.

The Canadian Physiotherapy Association suggests selecting a tool by matching the size of the tool handle to the size of your hand and using a loose, comfortable grip. An extended handle is also ideal for many tasks to reduce overreaching. Have the right tools for the job and find your "easy zone," which is a comfortable position to work in and use tools to assist you as you move with your work.

One of the most common gardening tasks that often results in injury is shoveling. To avoid injury, the lawn care experts at Ames True Temper recommend the following shoveling tips. First, make sure the shovel's head is perpendicular to the ground when you are pushing in with your foot. If you cannot push with one foot, don't attempt jumping onto the shovel with both feet to drive the tip in; if the ground is this hard, you'll need a backhoe or pry bar for the job.

Second, when lifting dirt out of the hole, don't grip close to the bottom of the shovel or too far at the end of the handle, because this causes strain on your back. Grip in the middle and continue the upward motion of lifting the dirt to throw it into a wheelbarrow or onto a tarp.

Third, should you encounter roots while digging, don't attempt to use your shovel as a pry bar. Instead, use the tip of the shovel as a chopping tool and cut cleanly through the root by turning the shovel around. And as with any other gardening task, always keep your back straight while shoveling.

The final gardening tip is to wear the proper attire. Always wear gloves and kneepads to keep warmer, dryer and more comfortable. Wearing an apron with large pockets is also helpful to keep commonly used tools at hand, which avoids constant rising and squatting, as well as continual trips to the garage or shed.

With these tips in mind, gardening should be much easier and safer for you this spring, leaving your lawn and garden beautiful and you more rested and injury-free.

Source: ARA Content